SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Santa Barbara County's death rate between 2018 and 2020 is roughly 8% less than the state of California, according to the county Public Health Department's most recent death data report.
"Death reporting is an essential component to understanding the health of our residents," said public health spokeswoman Jackie Ruiz. The death data report released on Monday covers all county deaths between 2018 and 2020.
The trend of a lower death rate than the overall state has persisted since 2010, and the death rate has actually decreased since that year when looking at the age-adjusted death rate among residents, according to Ruiz.
The top leading causes of death in the county were cancer, heart disease, and unintentional injuries, and all three of those causes were higher among men than women, Ruiz said.
Despite the report only including one complete year of COVID-19 death data from 2020 and the data being limited only to the early stages of the pandemic, the novel coronavirus was listed as the sixth leading cause of death in 2020.
There were statistically significant decreases in the death rates of Asian Pacific Islanders, multiracial, and Hispanic residents in the past three years compared to the three years prior.
At the same time, there were increases in the death rates among White non-Hispanic residents, who had nearly three times higher death rates than Hispanic residents, according to the report.
By region, South County reported 25% lower death rates than central or North County, and central and North County had similar death rates.
“This data indicates that residents in Santa Barbara County face different health outcomes based on their race/ethnicity and location in the county," said Joy Kane, senior epidemiologist, adding that a more detailed report to further understand the trends will be coming in the next few months.