July 8, 2019–The latest Vital Statistics Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a 5.3% rise in the number of deaths due to accidents (or unintentional injuries) from 2016 to 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.
In the June 24, 2019 issue of the National Center for Health Statistics Scientific Reports (Vol. 68, No. 6), the CDC says, “The leading cause of death for the population aged 1–44 was unintentional injuries,” as it has been for years. Further, “the relative burden of mortality from this cause was far greater at younger ages, accounting for 31.8% of all deaths for age group 1–9, 40.6% of deaths for age group 10–24, and 34.6% of deaths for age group 25–44.”
When combining deaths related to accidents with those caused by intentional self-harm and assault, the enormous toll that injury takes on our society is impossible to ignore. Between the ages of 10 and 24, for instance, injury (accident, suicide and homicide) accounts for an incredible 74.2% of all deaths in the United States (see pie chart).
|AGE GROUP||CAUSES OF DEATH|
|1-4||#1 Unintentional Injury|
|5-9||#1 Unintentional Injury|
|10-14||#1 Unintentional Injury, #2 Intentional Self-Harm|
|15-19||#1 Unintentional Injury, #2 Intentional Self-Harm, #3 Assault|
|20-24||#1 Unintentional Injury, #2 Intentional Self-Harm, #3 Assault|
|25-34||#1 Unintentional Injury, #2 Intentional Self-Harm, #3 Assault|
|35-44||#1 Unintentional Injury, #4 Intentional Self-Harm, #5 Assault|
|45-54||#3 Unintentional Injury, #4 Intentional Self-Harm, #5 Assault|
|55-64||#3 Unintentional Injury|
After age 65, unintentional injury drops to sixth or seventh place, as chronic diseases take their toll among older adults–but it is always among the top 10 causes of death, and remains the #3 cause of death overall.