The three most frequent causes of injury death are also among the top 20 causes of all deaths in the United States in 2019. Preventable/accidental injuries ranked third, intentional self-harm (suicide) ranked 10th, and assault (homicide) ranked 16th.
Suicides peak among people in their 50s, while assault deaths peak among young adults in their 20s. In contrast, preventable/accidental deaths can be largely attributed to three main causes across a person’s lifetime: Motor vehicle-related deaths among young adults, opioid misuse among adults in mid-life, and fall deaths among older adults.
Both accidental deaths and suicides have been increasing rapidly. Although suicide deaths decreased in 2019, they have still increased 62% since 2000. Preventable/accidental deaths are continuing an upward trend and have increased 77% since 2000. The number of assault deaths increased less than 2% in 2019 and have been increasing at a slower pace, 14% since 2000.
Nonfatal injury trends are very different from fatal injury trends. While preventable injuries are far more common than either assault or self-harm nonfatal injuries, assault injuries outnumber self-harm injuries. In 2019, 24,823,156 people were treated in an emergency department for a preventable injury. Treatment for assault-related injuries numbered 1,507,500, roughly three times those treated for self-harm (493,039).
Nonfatal preventable injuries peak among children between 1- and 2-years-old, and again among 20- and 30-year-olds, before they gradually decline throughout life. Assault-related nonfatal injuries peak among 20-year-olds, then decline steadily. Self-harm nonfatal injuries peak among teenagers, drop rapidly until about age 30, and then plateau until age 50, at which time they decrease again.
Use the interactive chart to explore other trends by injury intent, sex, and age.
- Data Table