DOH: Lower Births and Deaths in Washington

In 2010, only 4.8 percent had late or no prenatal care, down from 5.6 percent in 2009. More women are getting prenatal care, and there are fewer low birth weight babies than a decade ago. Newborns weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams) develop more slowly and are at risk of serious health problems. The rate of babies who were low birth weight has remained at 6.3 percent. The national rate was 8.2 percent. About 1 in 10 babies were born prematurely (before 37 weeks).

Fewer pregnant women were smoking in 2010 – 9.2 percent, down from 9.8 percent in 2009. Gestational diabetes in pregnant women has increased over the past decade from 3.1 percent in 2000 to nearly 6 percent in 2010. This type of diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation), and can affect both the baby’s and mother’s health.

Of the 86,480 births, 2,856 were multiple births (including twins and triplets). More than half (60 percent) of new moms in 2010 had at least some college education and most (83 percent) were high school graduates. Women 25 to 29 years old had the largest number of births at 30 percent, as did non-Hispanic whites at 64 percent.

Along with babies getting a healthy start in life with prenatal care and healthy birth weights, people in Washington live longer than the national average. Baby boys born in 2010 have a life expectancy of 78.2 years, and baby girls have a life expectancy of 82.5 years, a little more than two years longer than the rest of the United States. Many in Washington live well into their 80s and 90s, and a few walk down the wedding aisle in their 90s.


Among people who died in 2010, more than a third were older than age 84. There were 47,981 deaths among Washington residents in 2010, down slightly from 48,202 in 2009. Leading the top 10 causes was cancer, which accounted for nearly a quarter of deaths, followed by heart disease which caused 22 percent of deaths. Lung cancer accounted for most cancer deaths (27 percent), followed by colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. The third leading cause of death was Alzheimer’s disease, followed by chronic lung disease, accidents, stroke, diabetes, suicide, chronic liver disease, flu, and pneumonia. The number of suicides has been rising for a number of years. There were 947 suicides in 2010.

Marriages and divorces

There were 40,170 marriages in 2010, slightly less than the number of marriages in 2009 (40,318). The oldest bride was 103 and the oldest groom was 97. The largest number of couples tied the knot on August 21 with 909 marriages. There were 27,068 divorces in 2010, up from 25,395 in 2009.

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