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 491, compared with 1 in 135,666 for fatal injuries caused by lightning.

 

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

  Number of deaths, 2010 One-year odds Lifetime odds
Cause of death      
All motor vehicle accidents 35,332 8,763 111
     Car accidents 8,009 38,660 491
     Motorcycle accidents 4,278 72,377 920
Assault by firearm 11,078 27,950 355
Exposure to smoke, fire and flames 2,782 111,297 1,414
Fall on and from stairs and steps 1,991 155,515 1,976
Drowning and submersion while in or falling into swimming pool 680 455,337 5,786
Firearms discharge (accidental) 606 510,940 6,492
Air and space transport accidents 472 655,995 8,335
Fall on and from ladder or scaffolding 437 708,534 9,003
Cataclysmic storm (2) 47 6,587,860 83,709
Flood 39 7,939,216 100,879
Bitten or struck by dog 38 8,148,143 103,534
Earthquake and other earth movements 33 9,382,710 119,221
Lightning 29 10,676,876 135,666

(1) Based on fatalities and life expectancy in 2010. Ranked by deaths in 2010.
(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 2010 were 1 in 1,689 according to the latest data available.
  • The lifetime odds of dying from an injury for a person born in 2010 were 1 in 21.
  • The odds of a car occupant dying in a transportation accident were 1 in 38,660 in 2010; the lifetime odds were 1 in 491 for a person born in 2010.

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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