Child Health USA 2006
Photographs of children's faces

Health Status > Children


In 2004, there were 3.6 million hospital discharges among children aged 1 through 21, or 4.2 discharges per 100 children that year. This represents little change from 2003. Hospital discharge rates generally decrease with age until about age 9 and then increase during later adolescence.

While injuries are the leading cause of death among children older than 1 year, this category accounted for only 9 percent of hospital discharges of children 1 to 14 years old in 2004. Diseases of the respiratory system were the major cause of hospitalization for children 1 to 9 years of age, accounting for 31 percent of discharges. Pregnancy and childbirth accounted for 67 percent of discharges of young women aged 15 to 21. Mental disorders were the second leading cause of hospitalization for 15- to 21-year-olds.

Overall, there has been a significant decrease in hospital discharge rates among children over the past 20 years. From 1985 to 2004, there was a 33 percent decrease in discharge rates for children aged 1 to 14 years. During this period, hospital discharge rates for diseases of the respiratory systems declined 44 percent for children in this age group.


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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.