Age and Cause

The graph below depicts U.S. preliminary deaths and death rates per 100,000 population for the six leading causes of unintentional injury-related deaths in 2022 by age, through age 99. Additional years of data are also available (see Using the Charts and Tables).

  • Chart
  • Data Table
How to Use Injury Facts® Charts and Tables

The Six Leading Causes of Death

caused by unintentional injury in 2022

#1: Poisoning102,958 deaths

  • Average of 30.9 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Rate increased steadily from 2.02 at age 15 to its peak of 63.8 at age 36
  • Leading cause of preventable death for all ages combined for the 10th consecutive year
  • Leading cause of preventable death for every age from 22 to 68
  • Largely due to the opioid epidemic affecting millions of people in the United States
  • On an average day, 213 people die from preventable poisonings due to opioid drugs

#2: Falls46,630 deaths

  • Average rate of 14.0 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Beginning at about age 67, the death rate from falls increased dramatically
  • Surpassing the number of motor-vehicle and poisoning deaths at age 69 and remained higher throughout the lifespan, peaking at age 87
  • Death rate peaked at age 99, with a rate of 753.7 per 100,000 population

#3: Motor-vehicle crashes46,027 deaths

  • Average rate of 13.8 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Death rate peaks at 19.5 for 23-year-olds and again at 24.2 for 87-year-olds
  • Leading cause of preventable death for every age from 4 to 21
  • Second leading cause of preventable death for every age from 22 to 67

#3: Choking5,553 deaths

  • Average rate of 1.7 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 71

#5: Drowning: 4,168 deaths

  • Average rate of 1.3 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 from age 1 through 3

#6: Fire, Flames, or Smoke: 3,478 deaths

  • Average rate of 1.0 death per 100,000 population
  • Slightly elevated at very young ages; death rate peaked at age 95, with a rate of 6.7 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 from 1 to 3 years of age, closely followed by motor-vehicle.