Leading Cause of Death Ages 8-24

May 21, 2012

More children and young adults die of this than any other cause.  Perhaps it is no surprise that motor vehicle traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death in the group of age 8 through age 24, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research note “Traffic Safety Facts”.  

What is most surprising is that for the first time since 1981 (when data was first available), motor vehicle traffic crashes were not among the top 10 causes of death overall in the United States.  Motor vehicle crashes were the 9th cause in 2008 but dropped to the 11th leading cause of death in 2009, the latest year of research.

Fatalities in motor vehicle crashes have declined by about 25 percent since 2005, influenced largely by a significant drop in crashes and fatalities involving the younger population.  In spite of these changes, motor vehicle traffic crashes continue to be the leading cause of death in the younger age groups.  And, gender is still a factor with death among males ranked 8th overall while females are ranked 14th in their age group for 2009.

For adults, ages 16 to 20 here are the top ten causes of death.

  1. Motor vehicle traffic crashes – 3,947
  2. Homicide – 2,386
  3. Suicide – 1948
  4. Accidental poisoning – 1,025
  5. Malignant neoplasms – 714
  6. Heart disease – 423
  7. Accidental drowning – 300
  8. Congenital anomalies – 231
  9. Influenza/pneumonia – 159
  10. Motor vehicle non-traffic crashes - 121

Source: NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts – May 2012

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