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Facts On Dying:
Policy relevant data on care at the end of life
Facts on Dying


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(All statistics are adjusted for age and gender)

In 2001, 38% of all patients who died from cancer died at home. This was the most common site of death for cancer patients across the country, but there were wide variations between states. Even when age and gender were adjusted for, there was nearly a 3 fold difference between the state with the highest and the state with the lowest percentage of home deaths. While most states showed the proportion of cancer deaths at home to be in the 30s and 40s, a few states stood out at each end of the spectrum. The lowest proportions were seen in DC and South Dakota at 22% each, followed by Connecticut at 26% and North Dakota at 26.9%. On the other extreme, Utah showed the highest proportion of home deaths at 61.4%. Other notable states are Oregon at 54.8% and Delaware at 51.9%.

Closely behind home, hospitals were the second most common site of death for people with cancer in 2001 at 38%. Again, there was wide variability between states even after adjusting for age and gender distributions. Only New York was found to have greater than 50% of cancer deaths occur in hospital (52.1%). This was followed by DC at 47.5% and Mississippi at 45.4%. States with the lowest proportion of hospital deaths were Utah at 20.1%, Oregon at 21.1%, and Idaho at 25.9%.

The least common site of death for cancer patients was found to be nursing homes. Overall, slightly less than 17% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2001 occurred in a nursing home. As expected, the proportion of cancer deaths in nursing homes varied substantially between states even when age and gender were adjusted. However, this category showed much wider variability than the others and the highest state proportion was nearly 9 times greater than the lowest state proportion. The lowest proportion of nursing home cancer deaths was found in Hawaii at 5.2%. The next closest states were Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana all at 13%. At the other end of the spectrum, the highest proportion of nursing home deaths was seen in Rhode Island at 40.3%. This was followed by Arizona at 35.5% and Nevada at 33.7%.

Click on maps below to view a larger map in a new window.

2001 Cancer Site of Death - Home
2001 - US Average 37.12

2001 Cancer Site of Death - Hospital
2001 - US Average 35.95

2001 Cancer Site of Death - Nursing Home
2001 - US Average 20.71

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This web site is published by the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at the Brown Medical School. For further information, contact the webmaster via e-mail at or Dr. Joan Teno at Last edited March 19, 2004.