Key findings:

  • West Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama have the most at-risk group of seniors.
  • Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts have the lowest number of at-risk seniors.
  • 76 million Americans are over 60 years old with underlying health conditions.
  • Michigan, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana are the most at-risk states when comparing the number of at-risk seniors and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 outbreak, seniors with underlying health conditions are the most at-risk group for COVID-19. The CDC estimates that the elderly have accounted for 80% of fatal COVID-19 cases in China and the U.S. The CDC has identified the most at-risk underlying health conditions are chronic lung disease, asthma, heart conditions and diabetes. These health conditions put people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The 76 million Americans over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions are those that need to take the most precautions during the COVID-19 outbreak. The severe illness risk could mean many seniors with underlying health conditions could require hospitalization or intensive care. A CDC data set of 6,637 patients found 28% with underlying health conditions had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The prevalence of these common high-risk health conditions has already put a large portion of the American population at severe risk. Reports of ventilator shortages among other medical resource shortages present additional risk for seniors with underlying health conditions.

Given the heightened risk of underlying health conditions for seniors, we here at QuoteWizard analyzed CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Prevalence & Trends Data to find which states had the highest prevalence of seniors over the age of 55 with an at-risk health condition for COVID-19. We evaluated the prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma among seniors in each state. We then took a composite ranking of each underlying health condition to see which states were most at risk.

We found West Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama to have the largest prevalence of seniors with underlying health conditions. States near the top of our at-risk list do have the most at-risk population of seniors, however, compared to other states have a lower COVID-19 case count than other less at-risk states. On the other end of the spectrum, you have states like Massachusetts, California and New Jersey with a lower prevalence of at-risk seniors. But those states have a high number of COVID-19 cases, which puts their smaller prevalence of seniors at greater risk. States that could be considered most dangerous for seniors with underlying health conditions are those with high prevalence of at-risk seniors and high number of cases. Michigan, Florida, Louisiana and Georgia are states that meet criteria to be considered most dangerous. Michigan ranks 10th for at-risk seniors and 4th in COVID-19 cases in the country (as of April 1st). Florida ranks 13th for at-risk seniors and 5th in total COVID-19 cases. Louisiana ranks 12th in at-risk seniors and 7th in cases. Georgia ranks 11th in at-risk seniors and 11th in cases.

States most at-risk for seniors

Rank: Most At Risk State Diabetes % Cardiovascular Disease % COPD% Athsma%
1 West Virginia 26.2 14.25 22.3 13
2 Kentucky 24.75 12.15 21.25 11.5
3 Alabama 27.05 12.2 16.6 10.8
4 Tennessee 25.35 11.45 17.45 11.45
5 Mississippi 26.7 10.75 16.25 10.6
6 Arkansas 23.75 12.6 16.65 9.05
7 Oklahoma 23.25 11.8 14.55 9.55
8 North Carolina 22.65 12.05 14.15 9.75
9 Indiana 22.85 9.95 15.45 9.75
10 Michigan 20.9 10.05 14.2 9.9
11 Georgia 24.6 9.95 13.55 9.5
12 Louisiana 24.9 12.85 14.8 8.55
13 Florida 20.25 9.5 13.55 10.35
14 Ohio 21.75 10.2 13.75 8.95
15 South Carolina 23.2 9.45 13.4 9.2
16 Missouri 19.7 9.8 13.9 9.35
17 Arizona 19.05 8.85 12.05 10.9
18 Kansas 20.5 9.85 12.35 9.15
19 Pennsylvania 18.85 9.2 12.35 10.15
20 Rhode Island 20.2 8 11.65 11.7
21 New Mexico 20.8 7.2 11.75 11.25
22 Maine 16.95 8.9 12.25 10.25
23 Oregon 18.15 8.9 10.65 10.4
24 Delaware 20.6 8.55 11.85 8.7
25 Nevada 19.35 8.55 12.9 8.75

States least at-risk for seniors

Rank: Least At Risk State Diabetes % Cardiovascular Disease % COPD % Athsma %
1 Minnesota 15.95 7.45 7.65 8.05
2 Colorado 13.85 6.15 8.6 9.05
3 Massachusetts 15.5 6.75 8.6 8.95
4 Wisconsin 16.5 7.8 9.2 8.3
5 South Dakota 15.9 9.1 8.8 7.45
6 Hawaii 19.3 6.2 7 9.15
7 Alaska 15.05 8 10.5 9
8 Utah 18.4 6.1 7.25 10.05
9 Wyoming 16 7.2 11.8 8.8
10 Montana 15.2 8.4 10.8 8.75
11 Iowa 17.55 8.75 10.75 7.2
12 California 20.4 6.75 8.3 9.3
13 New Jersey 20.55 7.25 10.15 8.75
14 Illinois 19.75 7.55 11.15 8.4
15 North Dakota 18.8 9.95 8.95 8.3
16 Connecticut 17.9 7.65 9.25 10
17 Nebraska 18.35 8.25 10.95 8.8
18 Idaho 18.55 8 10.1 9.2
19 Virginia 19.85 8.25 11.15 8.2
20 New Hampshire 16.6 7.75 12 9.25
21 Vermont 16 6.85 11.05 10.95
22 Maryland 21.5 8.55 10.2 8.65
23 Washington 18.9 8.2 9.5 10.35
24 New York 21 7.7 10.05 9.6
25 Texas 25.75 8.3 10.95 7.6

Methodology

QuoteWizard analtyzed CDC BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data to find which states had the highest prevalence of seniors over the age of 55 with at-risk health conditions for COVID-19. The CDC indicated seniors with chronic lung disease or asthma and serious heart conditions or diabetes are the most serious underlying medical conditions susceptible to COVID-19. We analyzed prevalence trends in each state for serious underlying medical conditions which include: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. We took a composite ranking score of each underlying health condition to compile a ranking of all 50 states. States with the highest ranking are considered to have the highest population of at-risk seniors to COVID-19.