According to the South Dakota Department of Health the two most common causes of death over the last two decades have been heart disease and cancer.

During that time heart disease deaths have dramatically decreased, but cancer deaths increased slightly. Stroke deaths declined and deaths due to accidents, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, suicide, and liver disease have increased.

Here are the top five leading caused of death in South Dakota for 2015 (the last year complete records were available).

  1. Heart disease - 1,712 deaths attributed to it.
  2. Cancer - 1,632 deaths attributed.
  3. Chronic lower respiratory disease, including COPD - 500 deaths attributed.
  4. Accident (including unintentional deaths for example from car crashes or falls)- 467 deaths attributed.
  5. Alzheimer's - 421 deaths attributed.

Breaking the numbers down by age group; the leading causes of death from 2011 through 2015 for people from one to 44 years-old was accidents. For people in the 15 to 34 age groups, suicide was the second leading cause of death. Homicide was the second leading cause of death of people one to four years-old. Cancer was in the top five causes of death for all groups, except for South Dakotans under a year old.