Deaths by Age Group

Throughout the last century, the age distribution of preventable injury-related deaths in the United States has fluctuated, reflecting both changes in the age distribution of the population and changes in leading causes of preventable death.

Between 1903 and 1932, deaths were most prevalent among adults ages 25-44. Beginning in the 1930s through the mid-1960s, deaths among older adults were dominant. As we move into the late 1960s through the 1970s, there is a significant increase in deaths among adolescents and young adults 15-24 years of age due to a rise in motor-vehicle crashes among young drivers.

Poisoning deaths began to significantly contribute to the increase in fatalities among 25- to 44-year-olds in the 1980s and among 45- to 64-year-olds starting in the 1990s. This increase was largely driven by opioid drugs. The 1990s also saw a notable increase in deaths of adults 75 and older, reflecting an increase in fall-related deaths.

These trends continue to the present day. The current age distribution of deaths is dominated by the middle-age population, ages 25-64, driven by the opioid epidemic. Among adults 75 and older, deaths are driven by falls.

The interactive chart allows you to explore these preventable deaths by age group. Over the last century, the age categories have changed slightly. Prior to 1948, the oldest age group recorded was 65 and older. Starting in 1949 the older adult population was subdivided into two age groups, 65-74 and 75 and older. Because of this coding change, the 65-74 and 75 and older age groups are blank prior to 1948, while the 65 and older age group is blank starting in 1948.

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