Age and Cause

Leading Causes of Preventable Death by Age

The average number of preventable deaths in 2022 across all ages was 2,262. However, this average is far exceeded during the prime of life, from 25 to 68. Because preventable injury deaths often occur to young healthy people, many victims never have a chance to graduate college and start their careers, while others leave behind young families.

For teens and young adults, this is driven largely by motor-vehicle crashes.

Poisoning was the leading cause of preventable death for all ages combined for the 10th consecutive year, and was the leading cause of preventable death for every age from 22 to 68. This is largely due to the opioid epidemic affecting millions of people in the United States.

On a typical day in 2022, 213 people died from preventable poisonings due to opioid drugs, accounting for 77,603 deaths in 2022. An additional 4,203 people died in 2022 from intentional opioid overdoses or overdoses where the intent was undetermined.

Deaths fluctuate in the average range between ages 68 and 85 before briefly spiking again, driven by older adult falls.

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Source: National Safety Council (NSC) analysis of National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality data for 2022, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Rates are NSC estimates based on data from NCHS and the U.S. Census Bureau. See the Technical Appendix for the 10th revision of International Classification of Diseases codes for the leading causes and comparability with prior years.

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