Washingtonians marry less, divorce more, live longer

March 20, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

In 2010, 909 couples married on Aug. 21 — the biggest day for weddings in the Evergreen State.

The total — and other figures from the state Center for Health Statistics — offer a snapshot of life and death in Washington.

Washingtonians live longer than the national average. The latest figures from the Center for Health Statistics also indicate more divorces, fewer pregnancies and better prenatal care for expectant mothers.

Statewide, the number of pregnancies, births and abortions continues to drop.

The state recorded 108,045 pregnancies in Washington in 2010 — a 4 percent drop from 2009. The largest decrease occurred among teenagers ages 15-19, as the total dropped 12 percent from 2009 to 9,348 pregnancies in 2010.

On the Web

Browse the complete data set of birth, death and marriage data at the state Center for Health Statistics website, www.doh.wa.gov/Data/multi_topic.htm.

Total births dropped 3 percent in 2010 from the previous year, to 86,480. The figure included 2,856 multiple births, such as twins and triplets.

“We have consistently seen births declining for the past few years now, coinciding with the downturn in the economy,” Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer, said in a statement. “Washington’s trend mirrors what we’re seeing nationwide with decreasing pregnancies and births. The good news is that more women in Washington are getting the prenatal care they and their babies need.”

The number of abortions also dropped 7 percent to 21,066 during the same period. The state also recorded 499 fetal deaths in 2010, about the same number as the previous year.

In 2010, only 4.8 percent of expectant mothers received late or no prenatal care, down from 5.6 percent in 2009.

Officials said babies born in Washington can expect to live longer than the national average. Boys born in 2010 have a life expectancy of 78.2 years. Girls born in the same year have a life expectancy of 82.5 years.

The state recorded 40,170 marriages in 2010, slightly less than the 40,318 in 2009. Officials also recorded 27,068 divorces in 2010, up from 25,395 the previous year.

The state recorded 47,981 deaths among Washington residents in 2010, down slightly from 48,202 in 2009.

Cancer ranked as the No. 1 cause and accounted for almost a quarter of all deaths. Lung cancer accounted for the most cancer deaths, followed by colorectal, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers.

Following cancer, the top causes of death included heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic lung disease, accidents, stroke, diabetes, suicide, chronic liver disease, flu and pneumonia.

In addition, the number of suicides has been rising for years. The state recorded 947 suicides in 2010.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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