Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 3

December 24, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the third post in a series presenting excerpts from the report. (Here are links to Thursday’s and Friday’s fatality fact roundups.) I’ll probably put up one final fact-filled entry on Tuesday.

Without further delay, we now present the following 2009 death data:

• Murder claimed 5.5 lives per 100,000 Americans. The three highest rates are for these age brackets: 15 to 24 (11.3 deaths per 100,000), 25 to 34 (10.2) and, astonishingly, those younger than 1 (7.4). Those aged 5 to 14 were least vulnerable (0.8).

• The District of Columbia had the nation’s highest homicide rate, with 135 killings translating to 22.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate of 5.5 was less than a fourth of the district’s tally.

• D.C.’s 111 gun deaths, including suicides, homicides and accidents, also made for the nation’s highest rate, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate was 10.2.

• The state with the highest murder and gun death rates was Louisiana, with 12.8 and 18 deaths per 100,000 residents, respectively. The state had 573 slayings and 810 gun deaths.

• Connecticut had 173 gun deaths, with a rate of 4.9 per 100,000 residents. Its rate was lower than those of all states but New York (4.9), New Jersey (4.7), Hawaii (3.6) and Massachusetts (3.1).

• Stabbing and slashing accounted for 2,688 deaths nationwide, of which 1,874 were deemed murder.

• Suicide ended 36,909 lives, accounting for 12 deaths per 100,000 Americans. It was the 10th-highest cause of death, and the only major cause to increase significantly between 2008 and 2009.

• Individuals aged 45 to 54 had the highest suicide rate, 19.3.

• Men committed suicide at a rate roughly four times higher than women (19.2 deaths per 100,000 males vs. 5.0 deaths per 100,000 females).

• The nation suffered 554 accidental gunshot deaths.

• Law enforcement officers caused 395 deaths. These included executions as well as fatalities caused by police.

• Twenty-five domestic deaths were attributed to operations of war, a category that includes deliberate and (presumably primarily) accidental fatalities involving the operation of military equipment and vehicles.


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