Leading Causes of Suicide, Homicide, Unintentional Death, and All Death, 1999-2014


Between 1999-2014 (a 15-year period), according to US data from the Centers for Disease Control's WISQARS database, deaths involving firearms were:

  • #12 cause of death with 487,858 deaths (1.2% of all deaths);

  • #1 method of suicide with 291,571 deaths (52.0% of all suicides). The next leading method, suffocation, had 129,189 deaths (23.0%);

  • #1 method of homicide with 185,718 deaths (66.9% of all homicides). The next leading method, cutting or piercing, caused 30,683 deaths (11.0% of all homicides), 83.5% fewer than firearm homicides;

  • #14 cause of unintentional death with 10,569 deaths (0.6% of all unintentional deaths).


I. Leading Causes of Death
Cause of Death
(click cause for more information)
Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Deaths*
All Deaths 39,458,188 100%
1 Heart Disease 10,306,081 26.1%
2 Malignant Neoplasms 9,050,567 22.9%
3 Cerebrovascular Disease 2,297,675 5.8%
4 Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease 2,125,089 5.4%
5 Diabetes 1,156,786 2.9%
6 Alzheimer's Disease 1,146,748 2.9%
7 Influenza & Pneumonia 930,370 2.4%
8 Nephritis 707,975 1.8%
9 Traffic Accident 633,870 1.6%
10 Septicemia 553,744 1.4%
11 Poisoning 524,847 1.3%
12 Firearm 487,858 1.2%
13 Liver Disease 481,511 1.2%
14 Hypertension 388,359 1.0%
15 Fall 362,485 0.9%
16 Parkinson's Disease 320,287 0.8%
17 Pneumonitis 275,097 0.7%
18 Suffocation 234,304 0.6%
19 Benign Neoplasms 228,243 0.6%
20 Perinatal Period 215,760 0.5%
21 Aortic Aneurysm 201,985 0.5%
22 HIV 176,857 0.4%
23 All Other Causes 6,651,723 15.7%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.
II. Leading Methods of Suicide
Method of Death Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Suicides*
All Suicides 100%
1 Firearm 291,571 52.0%
2 Suffocation 129,187 23.0%
3 Poisoning 96,079 17.1%
4 Fall 12,132 2.2%
5 Cut or Pierce 9,700 1.7%
6 Drowning 5,938 1.1%
7 Other, Classifiable 5,791 1.0%
8 Other, Not Classifiable 3,303 0.6%
9 Fire or Burn 2,600 0.5%
10 Unspecified 2,294 0.4%
11 Transportation 2,017 0.4%
12 Struck by or Against 20 0.0%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.
III. Leading Methods of Homicide
Method of Death Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Homicides*
All Homicides 277,487 100%
1 Firearm 185,718 66.9%
2 Cut or Pierce 30,683 11.1%
3 Unspecified 26,742 9.6%
4 Suffocation 9,725 3.5%
5 Other, Not Classifiable 9,441 3.4%
6 Transportation 3,837 1.4%
7 Other, Classifiable 3,643 1.3%
8 Struck by or Against 3,219 1.2%
9 Fire or Burn 2,053 0.7%
10 Poisoning 1,385 0.5%
11 Drowning 811 0.3%
12 Fall 230 0.1%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.
IV. Leading Causes of Unintentional Death
Cause of Death Number
of Deaths
% of Total
Deaths*
All Deaths 1,870,064 100%
1 Car Traffic 628,016 33.6%
2 Poisoning 427,383 22.8%
3 Fall 350,123 18.7%
4 Unspecified 99,356 5.3%
5 Suffocation 95,392 5.0%
6 Drowning 55,708 3.0%
7 Fire or Burn 49,883 2.7%
8 Natural Environment 24,946 1.3%
9 Other Transportation Accident 22,622 1.2%
10 Other, Classifiable 22,315 1.2%
11 Pedestrian 17,816 1.0%
12 Other, Non Classifiable 17,004 0.9%
13 Struck by or Against 13,778 0.7%
14 Firearm 10,569 0.6%
15 Machinery 10,508 0.6%
16 Cyclist 3,832 0.2%
17 Cut or Pierce 1.685 0.1%
18 Overexertion 186 0.0%

*Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth (one decimal) so the percentages may not add up to 100%.
V. Glossary
Aortic Aneurysm: A bulge in the large artery that transports blood from the heart through the chest and torso.

Cerebrovascular Disease: Commonly referred to as a stroke, cerebrovascular disease is when blood flow to the brain stops.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease: COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema

Hypertension: Commonly referred to as high blood pressure.

Neoplasm: Commonly referred to as a tumor. Malignant neoplasms are cancerous tumors that destroy body tissue. Benign neoplasms do not attack body tissue.

Nephritis: An inflammation of the kidneys

Perinatal Period: The time immediately before and after birth, generally from 22 weeks of pregnancy to seven complete days after birth.

Septicemia: Also called sepsis, it is a bloodstream infection.

Source: CDC, www.cdc.gov (accessed June 21, 2016)