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Wyoming death numbers up; birth numbers down in 2020

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI)-Wyoming's Vital Statistics Service, part of the Wyoming Department of Health, has revealed a significant increase in deaths over the past year over what would have been expected. In addition, there were fewer recorded births, marriages, and divorces.

There were 5,983 deaths among Wyoming residents last year compared to 5,121 in 2019, according to official death certificate information.

“Our data has shown steady, small increases in deaths for several years largely due to our state’s aging population,” said Guy Beaudoin, VSS deputy state registrar with WDH. “But before the COVID-19 pandemic hit we never would have predicted the large jump we saw in 2020.”

The records indicate there were 528 resident deaths that were related to COVID-19. Death certificates described COVID-19 as either causing or contributing to the deaths of those people.

Beaudoin suspects many more deaths may, in fact, be related to COVID-19, that were missed or avoided either routine or emergency medical care during the pandemic.

The state has also seen an upward trend in suicides over the last 10 years. There was an increase last year over 2019, but not as large a jump as Wyoming has seen in some previous years.

Beaudoin said there have been a growing percentage of overdose deaths caused by illicit drugs rather than prescription drugs. 89 overdose deaths were recorded last year, compared to 81 in 2019.

“It does not appear the pandemic had a significant statistical effect on Wyoming births, marriages or divorces last year,” Beaudoin said.

The number of births among Wyoming residents continued the significant downward trend that has existed for several years with 6,127 in 2020 compared with 6,567 in 2019. The high over the past decade was in 2015 with 7,716 resident births.

There were 3,899 marriages recorded in Wyoming last year compared to 4,056 in 2019, with 2,169 divorces in 2020 compared with 2,199 in 2019.

You can learn more about Wyoming's Vital Statistics Service here.

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