Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 4

December 25, 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.

Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the fourth and likely final post in a series presenting excerpts from these Centers for Disease Control publications. (The first two entries appeared on Thursday and Friday of last week; the third, on Monday of this week.)

Please enjoy these data on 2009 American deaths:

• There were 5,005 deaths listed as having unspecified intent, meaning authorities could not determine whether the fatalities were intentional or accidental. Of those, 232 involved gunfire.

• Of 25,562 falling deaths, 18 were homicides and 67 had undetermined intent.

• There were 4,211 drownings, most accidental.

• Hot objects caused 3,195 fatalities. Flames caused another 3,125.

• Five hundred twenty-nine bicyclists and 4,109 pedestrians died, as did 4,214 motorcyclists.

• Water, air, space and other forms of transportation not including ground transportation claimed 1,782 lives.

• Of 41,592 fatal poisonings, 87 were murders; 3,349 had unclear intent. Accident and suicide were the first- and second-leading types of poisoning deaths.

• There were 15,645 suffocation deaths. Of those, 5,939 were accidents, 9,000 were suicides, 543 were homicides and 163 had unclear intent.

• Of 910 deaths in which the victim struck out or was hit, 776 were accidental, 132 were homicidal, one was suicidal and one had unclear intent.

• Ten deaths were attributed to overexertion.

• There were 2,031 deaths due to causes not otherwise classified, a catchall category; about half of these were accidental.

• There were 5,098 deaths due to unspecified causes, most of which were deemed accidental.

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