Child Health USA 2006
Photographs of children's faces
Health Status > Adolescents


In 2004, 13,706 deaths were reported of adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. After a moderate increase for this age group in the early 1980s, death rates have since gradually declined. Unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death among this age group and accounted for 49.8 percent of all deaths among adolescents in 2004. Homicide and suicide were the next leading causes of death, accounting for 14.1 and 12.4 percent, respectively, of all deaths within this age group.

Deaths Due to Injury. Within the classification of deaths due to injury or other external causes, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of mortality among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2004, and accounted for 48 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. Firearms were the next leading cause of injury death, accounting for 23 percent of injury-related deaths in this age group. Adolescent death rates due to motor vehicle injuries and firearms were similar in the early 1990s until 1994, when they began to diverge. The rate of adolescent firearm deaths was recorded at 12.0 per 100,000 population in 2004, less than half the rate of motor vehicle injury deaths (24.7 per 100,000).


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Child Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Child Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.