Regional Health Status

Eastern North Carolina Compared to the Rest of the State, 2005

The eastern region of North Carolina continues to be less healthy than the rest of the state. In 2005, 21% of Eastern North Carolinians reported their health as "poor or fair" compared to 18% of citizens in the rest of the state. 1 Death rates in the region are substantially greater than the rest of the state. The age-adjusted 2005 mortality rates in the 41-county Eastern North Carolina region are greater than the rest of the state (59 counties) for virtually all major causes of death.2

Cause of Death ENC41 to RNC59 ENC29 to RNC71
All Causes 11% greater 12% greater
Heart Disease 20% greater 15% greater
-Coronary Heart Disease 24% greater 10% greater
Cancer All Sites 11% greater 14% greater
-Cancer Trachea, Bronchus, Lung 14% greater 11% greater
-Cancer Colon, Rectum, Anus 16% greater 10% greater
-Cancer Female Breast 24% greater 37% greater
-Cancer Prostate 12% greater 19% greater
-Cancer Cervix 78% greater 84% greater
Stroke 10% greater 14% greater
COPD 4% lesser same
Diabetes Mellitus 42% greater 38% greater
Other Unintentional Injuries 6% lesser 5% lesser
Unintentional Motor Vehicle Injuries 36% greater 29% greater
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, nephrosis 21% greater 21% greater
Pneumonia and Influenza 3% lesser same
Septicemia 21% greater 17% greater
Homicide 28% greater 19% greater
Suicide 1% greater 6% greater
HIV 59% greater 27% greater

In terms of premature mortality, (i.e. years of life lost before age 75), North Carolina ranks 38th among the 50 states.3 With the exception of Virginia, North Carolina ranks above other southern states and also ranks above New Mexico and Nevada. See map for NC county and regional comparisons (pdf)

If the 41-county Eastern North Carolina region were a state, it would rank 47th and would rank above Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia. If the rest of North Carolina (59 counties) were considered alone, it would rank 31st, with a rate similar to Alaska's.

The rates and ranks for 2003 are as follows:

Region Rate Rank
Minnesota 548.2 1st
The rest of NC (59 counties) 784.4 31st
NC 832.6 38th
ENC (41 counties) 950.5 47th
ENC (29 counties) 951.4 47th
Mississippi 1076.6 51st
District of Columbia 1309.5 (worse than any state)
United States 746.1  

1 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, 2005. Statistically significant at p=.05, 95%CIs for Eastern NC and Rest of NC are 19.5 - 22.2 and 16.8 - 18.6, respectively.

2 Mortality rates per 100,000 for the year 2005 and age-adjusted to the US 2000 standard million.

3 Computed for 2003, the most recent year US data are available using US Compressed MortalityFile.