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Cost of Violent Deaths in United States, 2005

The Facts About Violence-Related Fatal Injury and Lifetime Medical and Work Loss Costs, United States, 2005

Lifetime Cost Estimates of Violence-Related Deaths in 2005

Social Math

  • If one less suicide occurred each day, society would recover about $300 million in total lifetime costs, enough to cover 4 years of college tuition, room and board for 17,000 students.
  • Reducing the number of homicides by 5% would save $1 billion in lifetime medical and work loss costs, equivalent to one year of groceries for 169,000 American households.

Overview

  • 51,173 violence-related (homicide, suicide and legal intervention combined) deaths resulted in $47 billion in total medical and work loss costs.
  • Males accounted for 79% of violence-related deaths, resulting in total medical and work loss costs that were nearly 5 times greater for males ($39 billion) than for females ($8 billion).
  • On average, the per death cost for homicides are higher than those for suicide. The average combined medical and work loss cost in 2005 was $1.1 million per homicide as compared to $819,000 per suicide.
  • Firearm-related injuries represented 58% of the total costs from violent deaths ($27.7 billion).
  • Violence-related deaths caused by fire- and burn-related injuries had the greatest average medical cost ($24,629), followed by struck by/against ($13,857).

Suicide

  • Suicide accounted for the majority of violence-related injury deaths (64%), costing society $26.7 billion in combined medical and work loss costs.
  • 14% of all suicides occurred among youth ages 10-24 years, with a total combined medical and work loss cost of $6 billion annually.
  • Firearm injuries (48%) accounted for nearly half of the total combined costs from suicide, followed by suffocation (27%) and poisoning (17%). Deaths due to these three mechanisms cost $24.5 billion in combined medical and work loss costs.

Homicide

  • Combined medical and work loss costs due to homicide total $20 billion.
  • Average medical costs were highest among children ages 4 years and younger ($13,946) and adults 80 years and older ($9,680).
  • 85% of the total combined costs for homicide occurred among people aged 15 to 44 years, mostly due to work loss costs ($17 billion).
  • Firearm injury was the most common mechanism for homicides, resulting in 73% ($14.6 billion) of the total combined medical and work loss costs. Cut/pierce was ranked second, accounting for 11% ($2.2 billion) of total combined costs.

Youth Homicide

  • 31% of all homicides occurred among youth ages 10-24 years, costing society $7.7 billion in total combined medical and work loss costs.
  • The average medical cost of youth homicide was highest among those aged 15-19 years at $6,577.
  • The number of homicides among youth ages 10-24 years was more than 6 times higher among males than females, resulting in a greater burden of total combined medical and work loss cost among males ($6.7 billion) compared to females ($934 million).
  • 82% ($6.3 billion) of the total combined medical and work loss costs of homicides among youth ages 10-24 were due to firearm injuries.

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