Get Your Flu Shot: 15 States Where You’re Most Likely to Die From the Flu

You might think the flu is nothing to be concerned about, but you’re mistaken. Depending on severity, the flu can be deadly. And that’s concerning, considering that just 41% of Americans age 18 and over received a flu shot in 2015. That why it’s important to do the best you can to stay healthy during cold and flu season. We took a look at data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help you identify the states where the most people succumb to the flu.

Here are the 15 states where you’re most likely to die from the flu.

15. North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota, United States

A person recently contracted the flu from a pig. | Ben Harding/iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 17.7
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 172

The death rate in North Dakota from the flu is down from 18.5 per 100,000 people the year before. For the 2017-2018 flu season, there have been 13 flu cases as of Oct. 5. North Dakota recently made headlines when the state had its first case of a human contracting the flu from a pig. A child was infected after making contact with a pig at the state fair in Minot.

Next: Swine flu caused several county fairs in this state to shut down

14. Maryland

annapolis, maryland

The death rate for the flu is up in Maryland. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 17.7
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 1,176

The death rate in Maryland from the flu in 2015 was up from 15.6 per 100,000 people the year before. Roughly 1,019 people died during this time. Maryland was in the news recently when exhibits at three county fairs were shut down after 11 pigs were discovered to be infected with swine flu. When taking a closer look at the health of America’s cities, WalletHub ranked Baltimore 84 out of a possible 150 (150 is unhealthiest).

NextMore than 1,300 people died from the flu in this state in 2015.

13. Missouri

St. Louis

Missouri has one of the worst life-expectancy rates. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 17.9
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 1,337

The death rate in Missouri from the flu is down from 18.1 per 100,000 people the year before. Roughly 1,321 people died during that time. Overall, the state has one of the worst life-expectancy rates, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the state’s unhealthiest cities. WalletHub ranked the city 106 out of a possible 150 (150 is unhealthiest).

Next: Roughly 18 out of every 100,000 people in this state died of the flu in 2015.

12. South Dakota

A tourist takes a picture of Mount Rushmore National Memorial from outside the park on October 1, 2013 in Keystone, South Dakota. Mount Rushmore and all other national parks were closed today after congress failed to pass a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job. A bulletin issued by the Department of Interior states, 'Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to close and secure national park facilities and grounds in order to suspend all activities ...Day use visitors will be instructed to leave the park immediately...' (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The state had 213 deaths from the flu in 2015. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 18.2
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 213

The death rate in South Dakota from the flu is up from 16.2 per 100,000 people the year before. Roughly 181 people died during that time. A flu outbreak hit South Dakota in January 2017. The state had about 300 confirmed flu cases by January of the 2016-2017 flu season. When taking a closer look at the health of America’s cities, WalletHub ranked Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 40 out of a possible 150 (150 is unhealthiest).

Next: A state in the South

11. North Carolina

Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Winston-Salem is one of the most unhealthy cities in the country. | iStock.com/Bryan Pollard

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 18.7
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 2,115

The death rate in North Carolina from the flu is up from 17.2 per 100,000 people the year before. WalletHub research found that Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is one of the nation’s most unhealthy cities. It received an overall rank of 125 out of a possible 150 (150 is the unhealthiest). It also ranked poorly (144) in the food quality category. Overall, the state has one of the worst life-expectancy rates, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Next: Nearly 700 people died from the flu in this Great Plains state in 2015-16.

10. Kansas

A warm, beautiful sunset along the Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas

Wichita is another unhealthy city. | ricardoreitmeyer/iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 18.9
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 682

The death rate in Kansas from the flu is up from 18.2 per 100,000 people the year before. The flu or pneumonia contributed to or directly caused 903 deaths among Kansas residents during the 2015-2016 flu season, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment. WalletHub research found Wichita, Kansas, is one of the nation’s most unhealthy cities. It received an overall rank of 116 out of a possible 150 (150 is the unhealthiest). It also ranked poorly (115) in the food category.

Next: Flu deaths are high in the Bluegrass State.

9. Kentucky

Somerset, Kentucky

The state has one of the worst life-expectancy rates. | Nyttend/Wikimedia Commons

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 19.3
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 967

The death rate in Kentucky from the flu is down from 20.8 per 100,000 people the year before. WalletHub research found that Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation’s most unhealthy cities. It received an overall rank of 115 out of a possible 150. It also ranked poorly (115) in the health care quality category. Overall, the state has one of the worst life-expectancy rates, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Next: A state in the Deep South

8. Alabama

scene of downtown Huntsville, Alabama

The death rate is up from the year before. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 19.5
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 1,097

The death rate in Alabama from the flu is up from 18.8 per 100,000 people the year before. WalletHub research found that Mobile, Alabama, is one of the nation’s most unhealthy cities. It received an overall rank of 138 out of a possible 150. It also received low scores when it came to health care quality. Overall, the state has one of the worst life-expectancy rates, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Next: Four children died from the flu in this state last year.

7. New York

Statue of Liberty

Four children died from the flu during the 2016-17 flu season. | Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 20
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 4,881

The death rate in New York from the flu is up from 19.5 per 100,000 people the year before. New York was hit hard during the 2016 flu season. By January of the 2016-2017 flu season, it was reported that four children died from the flu. Roughly 72 children died from the flu in the United States during that season, according to Infection Control Today.

Next: Back to the South

6. Arkansas

Little Rock, AR, USA

Nearly 7,000 residents came down with the flu. |csfotoimages/iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 20
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 700

The death rate in Arkansas from the flu is slightly down from 20.7 per 100,000 people the year before. The Arkansas Department of Health reported that more than 6,800 Arkansas residents tested positive for the flu by October of the 2016-2017 flu season. Overall, the state has one of the worst life-expectancy rates, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Next: Flu deaths are high in this Appalachian state.

5. West Virginia

charleston, west virginia

It had a swine flu-related death in 2009. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 21.2
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 526

The death rate in West Virginia from the flu is up from 19.6 per 100,000 people the year before. The state had its first swine flu-related death back in 2009. Overall, West Virginia has one of the worst life-expectancy rates, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The state has 1,199 deaths per 100,000 people, or close to 12%. White residents have the worst life expectancy. They live an average of just 75.4 years.

Next: The death rate from the flu is falling in this state, though it’s still high.

4. Nevada

The electricity poles on green shrubs with mountain backdrop in desert area

Las Vegas is one of the worst cities for overall physical fitness. | Z-lex/iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 21.3
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 630

The death rate from the flu is down from 23.8 per 100,000 people the year before. WalletHub research found that Las Vegas is one of the nation’s most unhealthy cities. It received an overall rank of 144 out of a possible 150. The city received low marks when it came to the quality of health care. The overall physical fitness of residents in Las Vegas was also lacking.

Next: More than 1,700 people died from the flu in this Southern state in 2015. 

3. Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA downtown skyline

Tennessee was hit with the bird flu in 2017. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 23.3
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 1,723

The death rate from the flu is up from 22.1 per 100,000 people the year before. WalletHub research found Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the nation’s most unhealthy cities, ranking 148 out of 150. The city received low marks when it came to the quality of health care. The overall physical fitness of residents in Memphis, Tennessee, was also lacking. Tennessee received media attention earlier in 2017 when a commercial chicken farm used by Tyson Foods was hit with the bird flu.

Next: A flu outbreak at a university in this state raised alarms in 2017.

2. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi

The death rate is up slightly. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 24
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 791

The death rate from the flu is up from 23.5 per 100,000 people the year before. The state made headlines earlier in 2017 when the University of Southern Mississippi experienced a flu outbreak. Close to 90 flu cases were diagnosed on the campus in just 10 days. During the 2016-2017 flu season, most positive flu results were reported from Oktibbeha County.

Next: The state with the highest rate of flu deaths in the U.S.

1. Hawaii

driving along the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii

The islands experience the flu year-round. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Death rate (per 100,000 people): 27.4
  • Flu deaths in 2015: 557

Hawaii is the deadliest state when it comes to the flu death rate. The death rate from the flu is up from 22.6 per 100,000 people the year before. The main reason Hawaii experiences such a high level of flu-related deaths is because of a high volume of tourism and its tropical climate, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. Consequently, the state experiences the flu year-round. Due to the high rate of flu deaths, there is an influenza surveillance program that monitors occurrences of flu throughout the year.

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