Deaths by Age and Cause

The graph below depicts U.S. deaths and death rates per 100,000 population for the six leading causes of unintentional injury-related deaths in 2019 by age, through age 99. Additional years of data are also available (see Using the Charts and Tables).

  • Chart
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CAUSES BY RANK

#1: Poisoning

  • Average of 20.0 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Rate increased steadily from about age 15 to its peak of 42.2 at age 35
  • Leading cause of preventable death for all ages combined for the seventh consecutive year
  • Leading cause of preventable death for every age from 23 to 67
  • Largely due to the opioid epidemic affecting millions of people in the United States
  • Every day, 124 people die from preventable poisonings due to opioid drugs

 

#2: Falls

  • Average rate of 12.0 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Beginning at about age 67, the death rate from falls increased dramatically
  • Second leading cause of preventable death for all ages combined for the first year, slightly surpassing motor-vehicle crashes
  • Surpassing the number of motor-vehicle and poisoning deaths at age 68 and remained higher throughout the lifespan, peaking at age 88
  • Death rate peaked at age 99, with a rate of 575.9 per 100,000 population

 

#3: Motor-vehicle crashes

  • Average rate of 11.9 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Peaked among persons age 18-25; high of 18.9 at age 21
  • Higher secondary peak for older drivers: 24.4 at age 85 and 87

 

#4: Choking

  • Average rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Death rates due to choking on inhaled or ingested food or other objects were quite low for most ages
  • Rates rose rapidly beginning at about age 79

 

#5: Drowning

  • Average rate of 1.1 deaths per 100,000 population
  • While relatively stable and low for all ages, the death rates for drowning showed peaks in the first few years of life and again at some very old ages
  • Leading cause of preventable death for 2-year-olds

 

#6: Fire, Flames or Smoke

  • Average rate of 0.8 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Slightly elevated at very young ages; death rate peaked at age 96, with a rate of 7.0 per 100,000 population

Among infants younger than 1, mechanical suffocation was the leading cause of preventable-injury death, followed by motor-vehicle incidents. Drowning deaths were the leading cause of death among 1-year-olds, closely followed by motor-vehicle. For 2-year-olds the same was true, with drowning the leading cause of death, followed by motor-vehicle fatalities.