QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Death Rates* for Four Selected Mechanisms of Injury — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1979–2019§

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This report describes death rates for falls, motor vehicle traffic, firearms, and drug poisonings in the United States.

* Per 100,000, age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population.

Four of the most frequently occurring mechanisms of injury that caused deaths over the study period. Injuries are from all manners, including unintentional, suicide, homicide, undetermined intent, and legal intervention.

§ Deaths are classified using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In 1999, the ICD Tenth Revision replaced the ICD Ninth Revision, which had been used from 1979 through 1998. Coding updates in the later revision resulted in approximately 5% fewer deaths being classified as motor vehicle traffic deaths, 2% more deaths being classified as drug poisoning deaths, and minimal change in the classification of fall- and firearm-related deaths.

In 1979, of the four mechanisms of injury, age-adjusted mortality rates were highest for motor vehicle traffic deaths and lowest for drug poisoning deaths. From 1979 to 2019, the age-adjusted rate of motor vehicle traffic deaths decreased from 22.1 per 100,000 to 11.1, and the rate of firearm-related deaths decreased from 14.7 to 11.9. During the same period, the rate of drug poisoning (overdose) deaths increased from 3.0 to 21.6, and the rate of fall-related deaths increased from 6.2 to 10.1. In 2019, the rates were highest for drug poisoning deaths and lowest for fall-related deaths.

Source: National Vital Statistics System compressed mortality file, underlying cause of death. https://wonder.cdc.gov/mortsql.html

Reported by: Matthew Garnett, MPH, Mgarnett@cdc.gov, 301-458-4383; Holly Hedegaard, MD; Merianne R. Spencer, MPH.

Suggested citation for this article: QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Four Selected Mechanisms of Injury — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1979–2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:765. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7020a4.

For more information on these topics, CDC recommends the following link: https://www.cdc.gov/injury

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