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America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2016

Child and Adolescent Injury and Mortality

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.50, 51 In 2014, 35 percent of deaths among adolescents ages 15–19 and 30 percent of deaths among children ages 1–14 were due to unintentional injuries.50 For both age groups, motor-vehicle-related (MVR) injury deaths are the leading type of unintentional injury death.51 Compared with younger children, adolescents have much higher death rates overall and from injuries, and are much more likely to die from injuries sustained in motor vehicle traffic crashes.52 In 2014, the reported MVR deaths rates for American Indian or Alaska Native children under age 20 were more than double the rates for White, non-Hispanic; Black, non-Hispanic; Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic; and Hispanic children under age 20.53 Research has found that the race and ethnicity of Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander decedents is often misclassified on death certificates, resulting in an under-estimate of death rates.54 Therefore, death rates cannot be accurately reported for all racial and ethnic groups.54, 55

Figure 16: Motor-vehicle-related (MVR) death rates among children ages 1–14 by race and Hispanic origin, 1999–2014
Motor-vehicle-related (MVR) death rates among children ages 1–14 by race and Hispanic origin, 1999–2014

NOTE: Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately and combined for reporting according to the 1977 Office of Management and Budget Standards for Data on Race and Ethnicity.

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System.

  • In 2014, the MVR death rate for children ages 1–14 was 2.2 deaths per 100,000 population, representing 1,234 deaths. MVR death rates for Black, non-Hispanic (2.8); White, non-Hispanic (2.0); and Hispanic (2.2) children ranged from 2 to 3 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • During most of 1999 to 2014, Black, non-Hispanic children had a higher MVR death rate than White, non-Hispanic children. Death rates for Black, non-Hispanic; White, non-Hispanic; and Hispanic children differed by 1 to 2 points throughout the period.

Figure 17: Motor-vehicle-related (MVR) death rates among adolescents ages 15–19 by race and Hispanic origin, 1999–2014
Motor-vehicle-related (MVR) death rates among adolescents ages 15–19 by race and Hispanic origin, 1999–2014

NOTE: Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately and combined for reporting according to the 1977 Office of Management and Budget Standards for Data on Race and Ethnicity.

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System.

  • Among adolescents, the MVR death rate in 2014 was 11.9 deaths per 100,000 population, a total of 2,515 deaths. The MVR death rate for White, non-Hispanic (13.0) adolescents was higher than the rates for Black, non-Hispanic (11.4) and Hispanic (10.6) adolescents.
  • Between 1999 and 2014, the total MVR death rate for adolescents ages 15–19 declined from 26 deaths per 100,000 population to 12 deaths per 100,000 population. The MVR death rates for each racial and ethnic group declined throughout the period.
  • Throughout 1999 to 2014, White, non-Hispanic adolescents had a higher MVR death rate than Black, non-Hispanic and Hispanic adolescents. This disparity in death rates declined from an 11 point difference in 1999 to about a 2 point difference in 2014.

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50 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (n.d.). National Vital Statistics System. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss.htm

51 Gilchrist, J., & Ballesteros, M. F. (2012). Vital signs: Unintentional injury deaths among persons aged 0–19 year—United States, 2000–2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 61(15), 270–276. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6115a5.htm

52 Bergen, G., Chen, L. H., Warner, M., & Fingerhut, L. A. (2008). Injury in the United States: 2007 chartbook. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/injury2007.pdf

53 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (in press). Health, United States, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus.htm

54 Anderson, R. N., Copeland, G., & Hayes J. M. (2014). Linkages to improve mortality data for American Indians and Alaska Natives: A new model for death reporting? American Journal of Public Health, 104(S3), S258–S262. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301647

55 Pollack, K.M., Frattaroli, S., Young, J.L., Dana-Sacco, G., & Gielen, A.C. Motor Vehicle Deaths Among American Indian and Alaska Native Populations. Epidemiological Reviews, 2012; 34: 73–88.