For more information contact:

Joseph Thornton, Media Coordinator/Public Information Specialist
Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs
West Virginia Department of health and Human Resources
Phone: 304-558-7899 Fax: 304-558-7075
Cell: 304-546-7960 e-mail:

For immediate release

2000 Vital Statistics Report Released

There was an increase of 14,869 in the state’s population from 1990 to 2000. More than half (28) of the counties in West Virginia increased their population during this period.

There were 129 more births in 2000 than in 1999. According to West Virginia Vital Statistics 2000, released by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, the number of births in 2000 was 20,860, up from 20,731 in 1999. Births to teens decreased from 3,025 in 1999 to 2,858 in 2000. The percentage of births to unmarried teenaged mothers decreased from 70 percent in 1999 to 69 percent in 2000.

According to information provided on birth certificates, over 86 percent of West Virginia mothers began prenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy (of all births with known care), but 26 percent of women giving birth in 2000 reported smoking during pregnancy. Only half a percent of state births were to women who reported drinking alcohol while pregnant. Approximately 26 percent of 2000 state births were delivered by Cesarean section, compared to a national rate of 23 percent.

State deaths increased in 2000 to 21,127 from 20,993 in 1999. The average age at death was 69.5 years old for men, 76.5 for women. Heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease were the leading causes of death in 2000. In 2000, the state mortality rate for heart disease was 22 percent higher than the national average; the rate for cancer was 14 percent higher, and the rate for

chronic lower respiratory disease was 44 percent higher. Even larger differences were noted for deaths because of diabetes (46 percent higher), kidney disease (33 percent higher), and unintentional injuries (33 percent higher). Suicides increased by 14, from 232 in 1999 to 246 in 2000; 72 percent of all suicides in 2000 were firearm related. Of the 80 homicides in the state during 2000 (down from 102 in 1999), 66 percent were attributed to firearms.

The state’s infant mortality increased from 157 (7.6 per 1,000 live births) in 1999 to 159 (also 7.6 per 1,000) in 2000. Provisional 2000 U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.9.

The number of marriages increased for the third consecutive year, from 13,705 in 1999 to 15,375 in 2000. Divorces increased from 9,309 in 1999 to 9,336 in 2000. The most frequently reported age for all marriages was 22 for brides and 24 for grooms, while the median duration of marriages ending in divorce was six years.

The report also includes a trivia page, which shows the most births in 2000 occurred on September 6, while the most deaths occurred on January 21 and February 11. The most popular names for baby boys were Jacob, Austin, Tyler, Michael, and Joshua; the most popular girls’ names were Hannah, Emily, Madison, Alexis, and Haley.

This report can be obtained from the state Health Statistics Center at (304) 558-9100 or accessed on-line by the end of July at