Reason for Ranking
Injuries are one of the leading causes of death; unintentional injuries were the 4th leading cause, and intentional injuries the 10th leading cause, of US mortality in 2014. The leading causes of death in 2014 among unintentional injuries, respectively, are: poisoning, motor vehicle traffic, and falls. Among intentional injuries, the leading causes of death in 2014, respectively, are: suicide firearm, suicide suffocation, and homicide firearm. Unintentional injuries are a substantial contributor to premature death. Among the following age groups, unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death in 2014: 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-24, 25-34, 35-44. Injuries account for 17% of all emergency department visits, and falls account for over 1/3 of those visits.
Measurement Strengths and Limitations
This measure is being used to estimate the overall risk of injury in a county. Ideally, we would include injury hospitalizations and ER visits due to injuries, but these data are not available nationwide. The overall burden of injuries is not captured by the injury mortality rate; injuries that are not fatal have large costs due to emergency room visits and time off work.