Injury Mortality Varies by Country

For Release: Monday, October 5, 1998

Contact: NCHS Press Office (301) 458-4800


No. 303. International Comparative Analysis of Injury Mortality — Findings From the ICE on Injury Statistics. 20 pp. (PHS) 98-1250 [PDF – 218 KB]

The National Center for Health Statistics will release a new report on October 7, which compares injury mortality among 11 of the countries participating in the International Collaborative Effort (ICE) on Injury Statistics. Based on vital statistics reported to the participants in the ICE, findings include:

  • Average annual injury death rates were lower in England & Wales, Israel, and The Netherlands, and higher in France, and Denmark. The highest rate in France with 75 injury deaths per 100,000 population, was more than twice the lowest rate in England & Wales, with the a rate of 31 per 100,000. New Zealand, United States, and Norway had similar injury death rates of 56-57 per 100,000.
  • Motor vehicle traffic crashes, firearms, poisoning, falls, suffocation’s, and drowning accounts for about 60 percent of injury deaths in the 11 comparison countries.
  • The rates of death from motor vehicle traffic-related injuries ranged from a low of 6 per 100,000 in England & Wales to a high of 21 per 100,000 in New Zealand. New Zealand had the highest of deaths in which the victim was riding a motorcycle as either the driver or passenger.
  • The death rate from firearm injuries in the United States at 14 per 100,000 was more than twice the rate in any of the 10 comparison countries.
  • Motor vehicle traffic-related death rates among children 1-14 years are lowest in England & Wales, Norway, and The Netherlands, at 2-3 per 100,000 and highest in New Zealand at 7 per 100,000.
  • At age 15-24 years, the rate of motor vehicle traffic-related injuries is highest in New Zealand at 49 deaths per 100,000 persons, about 1.7 times the rates in the countries with the next highest rates, United States (29 per 100,000) and France (28 per 100,000).
  • In four of the comparison countries, the United States, Norway, Israel, and France, firearms are the second leading cause of injury death at ages 15-24 years. In the United States, however, the rate of deaths from firearm injuries at 27 per 100,000 was similar to the rate of deaths from motor vehicle traffic injuries, whereas, in the other three countries, the rate of deaths from motor vehicle traffic injuries is between 2 and 6 times higher than the rate of deaths from firearm injuries. In all the countries except the United States, the firearm deaths were primarily (51-93 percent) suicides. In the United States, the majority of the firearm-related deaths were homicides (62 percent).
  • At 65 years of age and over, falls are the leading specified cause of injury death in all countries except Australia, France, and Israel. In the United States, the rate is similar to that for motor vehicle traffic injuries.
  • For all ages, poisoning death rates are lowest in Israel and The Netherlands at 1-2 per 100,000 and the highest in Denmark at 13 per 100,000. Unintentional poisoning death rates are higher in the United States and in Denmark than elsewhere. In all the countries except the United States, the rate of suicidal poisoning exceeds rates of poisoning that were unintentional and where the intent could not be determined. The rate of poisoning of undetermined intent is highest in Denmark, England & Wales, and Scotland.
  • Unintentional injury death rates are highest in France and Denmark at 46 and 48 per 100,000 and lowest in England & Wales, Israel, and The Netherlands at 19-22 per 100,000.
  • Suicide rates are highest in Denmark and France at 18 and 21 per 100,000 and lowest in Israel and England & Wales at 7 per 100,000.
  • The homicide rate in the United States, 9 per 100,000, is 4-9 times the rates in the comparison countries. Two-thirds of homicides in the United States are committed with firearms.

For a full copy of the report, entitled “International Comparative Analysis of Injury Mortality: Findings from the ICE on Injury Statistics,” please access the NCHS web site.