Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Minnesota:

The prevalence of COPD rises with age. There is a lower prevalence of COPD in Minnesota than there is in the U.S. In 2020, 4.5% of Minnesotans reported being told that they had COPD, compared with 6.2% nationally.


Patients with severe COPD are short of breath during most activities and are admitted to the hospital more often than other people.

COPD hospitalizations increase with age. The highest COPD hospitalization rates are among all adults over age 75. Older people are more affected because COPD is a slowly progressive disease, meaning the symptoms get worse over time. COPD is very rare in younger people. 

Under age 75, COPD hospitalization rates are comparable between males and females and have remained stable. Over age 75, hospitalization rates are higher in men than in women but this gap is getting smaller. Due to changes in the classification of COPD in 2015, there is an uptick for both males and females over 75.

COPD is the fifth-leading cause of death in Minnesota. Death rates for COPD have declined for men but are unchanged for women. Although COPD death rates are higher among men than women, more women than men have died from COPD since 2005. This is because there are more women than men in the age groups most affected by COPD (adults over 65).

There are striking disparities for COPD deaths by race and ethnicity, with high rates of death for American Indians in particular compared to people who are White, Black, Asian or Hispanic.