Leading Causes of Suicide, Homicide, and Unintentional Death
1999-2015


Between 1999-2015 (a 16-year period), according to US data from the Centers for Disease Control's WISQARS database, deaths involving firearms were:
  • #12 cause of death with 523,344 deaths (1.2% of all deaths);

  • #1 method of suicide with 313,589 deaths (51.8% of all suicides). The next leading method, suffocation, had 141,042 deaths (23.3%);

  • #1 method of homicide with 198,697 deaths (67.1% of all homicides). The next leading method, cutting or piercing, caused 32,305 deaths (10.9% of all homicides), 83.7% fewer than firearm homicides;

  • #15 cause of unintentional death with 11,058 deaths (0.5% of all unintentional deaths), tied with machinery accidents.


I. Leading Methods of Suicide
Method of Death Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Suicides*
All Suicides 604,825 100%
1 Firearm 313,589 51.8%
2 Suffocation 141,042 23.3%
3 Poisoning 102,895 17.0%
4 Fall 13,140 2.2%
5 Cut or Pierce 10,463 1.7%
6 Drowning 6,447 1.1%
7 Other, Classifiable 6,402 1.1%
8 Other, Not Classifiable 3,461 0.6%
9 Fire or Burn 2,784 0.5%
10 Unspecified 2,389 0.4%
11 Transportation 2,191 0.4%
12 Struck by or Against 22 0.0%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.
II. Leading Methods of Homicide
Method of Death Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Homicides*
All Homicides 295,280 100%
1 Firearm 198,697 67.1%
2 Cut or Pierce 32,305 10.9%
3 Unspecified 28,373 9.6%
4 Suffocation 10,227 3.5%
5 Other, Not Classifiable 9,859 3.3%
6 Transportation 3,915 1.3%
7 Other, Classifiable 3,829 1.3%
8 Struck by or Against 3,338 1.1%
9 Fire or Burn 2,149 0.7%
10 Poisoning 1,496 0.5%
11 Drowning 855 0.3%
12 Fall 237 0.1%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.
III. Leading Causes of Unintentional Death
Cause of Death Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Deaths*
All Deaths 2,016,635 100%
1 Car Traffic 664,177 32.9%
2 Poisoning 474,861 23.5%
3 Fall 383,504 19.0%
4 Unspecified 106,286 5.3%
5 Suffocation 102,306 5.1%
6 Drowning 59,310 2.9%
7 Fire or Burn 52,594 2.6%
8 Natural Environment 27,525 1.4%
9 Other Land Transportation Accident 24,022 1.2%
10 Other, Classifiable 23,566 1.2%
11 Other Transportation Accident 18,759 0.9%
12 Pedestrian 18,755 0.9%
13 Other, Non Classifiable 18,133 0.9%
14 Struck by or Against 14,545 0.7%
15 Firearm 11,058 0.5%
15 Machinery 11,058 0.5%
16 Cyclist 4,170 0.2%
17 Cut or Pierce 1,811 0.1%
18 Overexertion 195 0.0%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.