What Kills Teens?

Jim Liebelt

A new report out from the National Center for Health Statistics finds that in the period of 1999-2006, of the more than 16,000 teenagers that die annually, most are killed in auto accidents, but other accidents, murder, suicide and disease also take their toll.

Key Findings:

• An average of 16,375 teenagers 12-19 years died in the United States every year from 1999 to 2006. This is less than 1 percent of all deaths that occur every year in the United States.

• The five leading causes of death among teenagers are Accidents (unintentional injuries), homicide, suicide, cancer, and heart disease. Accidents account for nearly one-half of all teenage deaths.

• As a category of accidents, motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of death to teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths.

• Among teenagers, non-Hispanic black males have the highest death rate (94.1 deaths per 100,000 population).

• Homicide is the leading cause of death for non-Hispanic black male teenagers. For all other groups, accident is the leading cause.

Sources: Businessweek, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention