Overview

According to the World Health Organization, about 56.9 million people died worldwide in 2016. Of this total, 3,429,000 died from preventable injuries.

While preventable injuries are the world’s fifth leading cause of death, they have been the third leading cause of death in the United States since 2016, behind heart disease and malignant neoplasms (cancer). U.S. preventable injury-related deaths were last ranked as the fifth leading cause of death in 2012.

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Motor-vehicle injuries are the leading cause of preventable death in the world, accounting for over 1.4 million deaths in 2016, more than twice the number of deaths than the second leading cause, falls. Poisoning ranks sixth in the world, with 107,000 fatalities.

Preventable injury-related death rankings for the world contrast sharply with the U.S. experience. Poisonings have been the leading cause of death in the United States since 2013, with motor vehicle ranked second and falls third.

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This section on international injury and fatalities includes data for occupational as well as general unintentional injury deaths. The two primary data sources used in this section are the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Source: World Health Organization (2018). Global Health Estimates 2016: Disease burden by Cause, Age, Sex, by Country and by Region, 2000-2016. Geneva: Author.