Injuries and Violence Are Leading Causes of Death

Injuries and violence affect everyone, regardless of age, race, or economic status. In the first half of life, more Americans die from injuries and violence — such as motor vehicle crashes, suicide, or homicides — than from any other cause, including cancer, HIV, or the flu. This makes injury the leading cause of death among persons aged 1-44.

Top Ten Leading Causes of Death in the U.S. for Ages 1-44 from 1981-2018

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1981

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  • Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans aged 1-44 years old.
  • Unintentional injuries include opioid overdoes (unintentional poisoning), motor vehicle crashes, and unintentional falls.
  • Suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death for this 1-44 age group, and numbers of suicides continue to rise.
  • Homicide remains in the top 5 leading causes of death for the 1-44 age group.

Unintentional Injury Deaths in the U.S. for Ages 1-44 from 1981-2018

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans aged 1-44 years old. The leading causes of death for unintentional injury include: unintentional poisoning (e.g., drug overdoses), unintentional motor vehicle (m.v.) traffic, unintentional drowning, and unintentional falls.

WISQARS fatal injury data come from the National Vital Statistics System multiple-cause-of-death database, using ICD-9 (1981-1998) and ICD-10 (1999-2018) underlying-cause-of-death codes. For data from 1981-1998, unintentional injury included adverse events and homicide included legal intervention. Data for these charts can be found in WISQARS Leading Causes of Death.