U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Adolescent Mortality

In 2006, 13,739 deaths were reported among adolescents aged 15-19 years, representing a rate of 64.4 per 100,000. The rate for males in this age group was notably higher than that for females (90.7 versus 36.8 per 100,000; data not shown). Unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death among this age group and accounted for nearly half of all deaths among adolescents in 2006, representing a rate of 31.3 per 100,000. The second and third leading causes of death among adolescents aged 15-19 years were homicide and suicide, with rates of 10.8 and 7.3 per 100,000, respectively. These causes accounted for 17 and 11 percent of deaths within this age group.

Within the general category of deaths due to injury or other external causes (including intentional injury), motor vehicle traffic was the leading cause of mortality among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2006, accounting for 45 percent of injury-related deaths among adolescents. Alcohol is a significant contributor to these deaths; recent data suggest that nearly one-third of adolescent drivers killed in crashes had been drinking (data not shown). Firearms were the next leading cause of fatal injury, accounting for 26 percent of injury-related deaths in this age group, followed by poisoning, suffocation, and drowning. Within the category of unintentional injuries, firearm injury falls to the fifth leading cause of death (data not shown).

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