Between 1912 and 2019, public preventable injury-related death rates declined 62%, from 30 to 11.5 per 100,000 population (after adjusting for the 1948 change in classification). Unintentional deaths in public places exclude deaths and injuries involving motor vehicles and people at work or at home.

In 1912, an estimated 28,000 to 30,000 people died from public injuries. In 2019, with triple the population and travel and recreational activity greatly increased, 37,700 people died from public unintentional injuries, and 13.2 million people suffered injuries serious enough to consult a medical professional.

Preventable Injuries and Injury-Related Deaths
in Public Places, 2019


Death rate per 100,000 population


Billion in costs

In 2019, the number of public preventable injury-related deaths was up 4.7% from the 2018 total of 36,000. The 2019 death rate per 100,000 population increased 4.5%, from 11.0 in 2017 to 11.5.

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With an estimated 13.2 million medically consulted preventable injuries occurring in public places and a population of more than 328 million people, on average about 1 person in 25 experienced such an injury in 2019.

The two leading causes of preventable injury-related deaths in public places are falls and poisoning, accounting for about 13,200 and 12,000 respectively. These two causes alone account for 67% of public deaths. The next two leading causes of death are choking and drowning, each accounting for about 7% of public deaths. No other cause accounted for more than 1% of public deaths.

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Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and state vital statistics departments.

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