Significant increases seen across all demographic groups.


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The first study in decades to examine trends in Parkinson disease deaths has tallied steady and significant annual increases over the past 20 years, with more than twice as many Americans dying from Parkinson disease in 2019 (35,311) compared with 1999 (14,593). The study was published in the November 16, 2021, issue of Neurology.

Figure. Number of de... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Number of deaths and age-adjusted rate from Parkinson disease: United States, 1999 to 2019. Age-adjusted death rates for the whole population were standardized to the 2000 U.S. standard population. Reprinted with permission from Rong S, et al. Trends in mortality from Parkinson disease in the United States, 1999-2019.

Parkinson disease affects 6.1 million people worldwide. In the United States, some 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Using data obtained from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics, the researchers calculated a total of 479,059 U.S. deaths from Parkinson disease between 1999 and 2019.


The age-adjusted death rate increased from 5.4 per 100,000 deaths in 1999 to 8.8 per 100,000 deaths in 2019. There was an average annual increase of 2.4% over the two decades.


Parkinson disease mortality increased significantly in all age groups, sexes, and racial and ethnic groups, as well as in urban and rural locations. There were, however, several notable differences within these categories. While death rates from Parkinson disease increased significantly for all sexes, mortality rates for men were twice those for women throughout the study period. Also, White individuals had higher mortality rates than people from other racial or ethnic groups.


Understanding the trends in mortality from various diseases is important in guiding health care financing and establishing priorities for research and policy. Some evidence suggests that environmental factors, such as exposure to pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and air pollution, could raise Parkinson disease risk. Other possible influences on the data might be that people are living longer, thereby contributing to higher Parkinson disease incidence and mortality, and that disease registration has improved over the years, resulting in more precise death certificate information.-Joan Zolot, PA