*Denotes that rates are age-adjusted. Crude rates are influenced by the underlying age distribution of the state's population. Even if two states have the same age-adjusted rates, the state with the relatively older population generally will have higher crude rates because incidence or death rates for most cancers increase with increasing age. The age distribution of a population (the number of people in particular age categories) can change over time and can be different in different geographic areas. Age-adjusting the rates ensures that differences in incidence or deaths from one year to another, or between one geographic area and another, are not due to differences in the age distribution of the populations being compared.