Mortality Risk

Mortality Risk

ODDS OF DYING FROM ACCIDENTAL INJURIES

The chart below shows the likelihood, or odds, of dying as a result of a specific type of accident. The odds of dying over a one-year period are based on the U.S. population as a whole, not on participants in any particular activity or on how dangerous that activity may be. For example, more people are killed in auto accidents than in motorcycle accidents or airplane crashes, not because riding a motorcycle or traveling in an airplane is more or less dangerous, but because far more people travel by car. The lifetime chances of dying in a car accident are about 1 in 470 compared with 1 in 164,968 for fatal injuries caused by lightning.

 

ODDS OF DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES BY SELECTED CAUSE OF INJURY (1)

  Number of
deaths, 2011
One-year
odds
Lifetime
odds
Cause of death      
All motor vehicle accidents 35,303 8,826 112
     Car occupants 8,415 37,028 470
     Motorcycle riders 4,344 71,729 911
Assault by firearm 11,068 28,153 358
Exposure to smoke, fire and flames 2,746 113,471 1,442
Fall on and from stairs and steps 2,101 148,306 1,884
Drowning and submersion while in or falling into swimming pool 652 477,902 6,072
Firearms discharge (accidental) 591 527,228 6,699
Cataclysmic storm (2) 584 533,548 6,780
Air and space transport accidents 494 630,753 8,015
Fall on and from ladder or scaffolding 465 670,090 8,514
Bitten or struck by dog 34 9,164,468 116,448
Flood 25 12,463,677 158,369
Lightning 24 12,982,997 164,968
Earthquake and other earth movements 22 14,163,269 179,965

(1) Based on fatalities and life expectancy in 2011. Ranked by deaths in 2011.
(2) Includes hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, dust storms and other cataclysmic storms.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics; National Safety Council.

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  • The odds of dying from an injury in 2011 were 1 in 1,640 according to the latest data available.
  • The lifetime odds of dying from an injury for a person born in 2011 were 1 in 21.
  • The odds of a car occupant dying in a transportation accident were 1 in 37,028 in 2011; the lifetime odds were 1 in 470 for a person born in 2011.

HEALTH RISKS

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly 600,000 fatalities in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Influenza and pneumonia ranked ninth in 2010, accounting for some 50,000 fatalities. However, pandemic influenza viruses have the potential to be far more deadly. An estimated 675,000 Americans died during the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, the deadliest and most infectious known influenza strain to date.

DEATH RATES FROM MAJOR CAUSES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2010-2011

    Age-adjusted death rate (1)
Cause of death Number of deaths, 2011 2010 2011 (2) Percent change
Heart disease 596,339 179.1 173.7 -3.0%
Malignant neoplasms (tumors) 575,313 172.8 168.6 -2.4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 143,382 42.2 42.7 1.2
Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) 128,931 39.1 37.9 -3.1
Accidents (unintentional injuries) 122,777 38.0 38.0 (3)
Alzheimer's disease 84,691 25.1 24.6 -2.0
Diabetes 73,282 20.8 21.5 3.4
Influenza and pneunonia 53,667 15.1 15.7 4.0
Kidney disease 45,731 15.3 13.4 -12.4
Intentional self-harm (suicide) 38,285 12.1 12.0 -0.8
Septicemia 35,539 10.6 10.5 -0.9
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 33,539 9.4 9.7 3.2
Hypertension (4) 27,477 8.0 8.0 (3)
Parkinson's disease 23,107 6.8 7.0 2.9
Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids 18,090 5.1 5.3 3.9
All other causes 512,723 NA NA NA
Total deaths 2,512,873 747.0 740.6 -0.9%

(1) Per 100,000 population; factors out differences based on age.
(2) Preliminary.
(3) Less than 0.1 percent.
(4) Essential (primary) hypertension and hypertensive renal disease.

NA=Not applicable.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics.

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