Welcome to the State of California 

Unintentional Injury Death Data Trends for Years 2000-2010   DS 13-13000

California Total Population


Unintentional injuries was California’s fifth leading cause of death from 2000 through 2009, and in 2010 it became the sixth leading cause of death.
See the Technical Notes for information about leading causes of death and rankings.


The age-adjusted death rate for unintentional injuries was lower in California than the United States for each year during the study period.  From 2000 until 2007, California age-adjusted rates gradually increased and peaked in 2007 at 31.7.  After 2007, the age-adjusted rates continually declined to its lowest level of 26.9 in 2010.  During the past eleven years, California consistently attained the Healthy People Objective 2020 IVP—11 of reducing the age-adjusted death rate for unintentional injuries to no more than 36.0 per 100,000 deaths. 

The chart below displays California’s age-adjusted death rates from 2000 through 2010, compared with the available United States rates.

Annual unintentional injury age-adjusted death rates are displayed in Table 3Opens a new browser window..

Unintentional Injury Age-Adjusted Death Rates, All Race/Ethnic Groups, California 2000-2010 

Age Distribution of Unintentional Injury Deaths

The total number of deaths in California from 2000 through 2010 was 2,571,224.  During this time, unintentional injuries accounted for 4.4 percent of deaths.

Unintentional injury deaths occur at a younger average age than cancer or heart disease, which does affect a larger proportion of older adults.  The average age for unintentional injury deaths was 48.9 years with a standard deviation of 23.1 years.  The majority, 74.4 percent of unintentional injury deaths, occurred to people under age 65.

Due to the nature of unintentional injuries (e.g. fires, motor vehicle crashes, drownings, natural disasters), there were 175 unintentional injury deaths where age was reported as unknown.  The unknown age classification represented less than 1 percent of all unintentional injury deaths.

Age Distribution of Unintentional Injury Deaths, California 2000-2010

Age-Specific Rates

Individuals under 14 years of age had the lowest age-specific death rates for unintentional injuries throughout the study.  There are slight differences in age-specific death rates from ages 15 to 74.  The risks of dying from unintentional injuries are greatest among those 85 and older.

The minimum and maximum annual age specific death rates per 100,000 population during the period from 2000 through 2010 for age groups that had reliable rates during each study year were as follows:

     •    Under 1 (8.7,15.1)
     •    1-4 years (6.4, 9.9)
     •    5-14 years (1.9, 5.3)
     •    15-24 years (17.5, 28.2)
     •    25-34 years (20.8, 26.3)
     •    35-44 years (24.3, 33.2)
     •    45-54 years (32.7, 45.3)
     •    55-64 years (25.9, 38.8)
     •    65-74 years (33.7, 37.8)
     •    75-84 years (69.0, 76.6)
     •    85+ years (172.5, 209.7)

The table below illustrates the differences between the 2000 to 2010 age-specific death rates by age group.  Most notably, the 55 to 64 age group demonstrated the greatest percentage increase in age-specific rates from 2000 to 2010 from 25.9 to 38.8, which represented a 49.8 percent increase.

Unintentional Injury Age-Specific Death Rates, California 2000-2010 

 Annual age-specific unintentional injury death rates by race/ethnicity group are displayed in Table 2aOpens a new browser window..

Crude Death Rates

During this period, the actual risk of dying per 100,000 population, or crude rate, ranged from 25.9 to 31.3. 

Annual unintentional injury crude death rates for the California population are displayed in Table 2aOpens a new browser window. under the “All Ages” column.

Unintentional Injury Age-Adjusted Death Rate by Mechanism 

During the study period, the age-adjusted death rate for motor vehicle crashes showed a 25.3 percent decrease between 2000 and 2010.  Both unintentional poisoning and unintentional falls demonstrated age-adjusted mortality rate increases during the period.  The age-adjusted rate due to unintentional falls increased by 34.9 percent and the age-adjusted rate due to unintentional poisoning reflected a 62.5 percent growth.

Unintentional Injury Age-Adjusted Death Rates by Mechanism, California 2000-2010

Number of Unintentional Injury deaths by Mechanism 

In California from 2000 to 2010, there were 114,025 unintentional injury deaths.  The top three causes of unintentional injury deaths, which accounted for almost 80 percent of deaths were motor vehicle crashes (36.2 percent), unintentional poisoning and exposure to noxious substances (including drugs and other substances) (26.7 percent), and unintentional falls (16.2 percent). 

Throughout the observational period, there were some upward and downward trends by specific type of unintentional injury deaths.  Listed below are the percent changes based on the total number of deaths between 2000 and 2010.

     •    Fifteen percent decrease in unintentional injury deaths from motor vehicle traffic crashes. 
     •    Eighty-five percent increase in unintentional deaths from poisoning.
     •    Sixty-five percent increase in deaths caused by unintentional falls.

Number of Unintentional Injury Deaths by Mechanism, California 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 

Read More:
At a Glance
California Total Population
Male and Female Populations
Race/Ethnicity Group Differences
Sex Differences Within Race/Ethnicity
County of Residence Populations
Tables (PDF)Opens a new browser window.
Technical Notes
Vital Statistics Query System

Helpful Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  Injury and Violence Prevention and Control
  Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventable

California Department of Public Health, EpiCenter

National Safety Council

Last modified on: 1/26/2016 3:24 PM