Deaths by Age and Cause

The graph below depict U.S. deaths and death rates per 100,000 population for the six leading causes of unintentional injury-related deaths in 2016 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


#1: Poisoning

  • Average of 18.1 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Rate increased steadily from about age 15 to its peak of 37.4 at age 34
  • Leading cause of preventable death for all ages, combined, for the fifth consecutive year
  • Leading cause of preventable death for every age from 23 to 64
  • Largely due to the opioid epidemic affecting millions of people in the U.S.
  • Every day, 103 people die from preventable poisonings due to opioid drugs

#2: Motor-vehicle crashes

  • Average rate of 12.5 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Peaked among persons age 18-25; high of 21.4 at age 21
  • Higher secondary peak for older drivers: 26.9, at age 89, followed by 23.8 at age 83 and 21.8 at age 80


#3: Falls


#4: Choking

  • Average rate of 1.5 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 1.2 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 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; climbing at about age 75

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