About Fatal Injury Data

Types of data

Fatal Injury Data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, is available in the following WISQARS™ modules.

  • Injury Reports - Find tables of the total number of injury deaths and death rates, as well as national estimates of injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.
  • Injury Explore - Explore injury data presented in an interactive, visual format to easily identify populations at risk of fatal and nonfatal injuries.
  • Fatal Injury Compare - Compare up to three injury-related causes of death by intent and mechanism.
  • Fatal Injury Compare: States - Compare differences in injury-related causes of death between up to three states.
  • Leading Causes of Death / Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) - Visualize the impact of injury-related deaths in the U.S. compared to other leading causes of death, or find the impact of premature death resulting from injury compared to other leading causes of premature death.
  • Cost of Injury - Find the medical cost for injury deaths as well as cost associated with lives lost.
  • Infographics - Rapidly visualize fatal and nonfatal injuries in one summary page.
  • Health Equity Modules - Use the interactive health equity visualization to learn how the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect injury rates.
  • Animated Ten Leading Causes of Death - Visualize top ten leading causes of death in the United States for ages 1-44 from 1981 to present

Provisional Data

Visit CDC's fatal injury trends to find the number of deaths due to unintentional injuries such as drowning, falls, and motor vehicle injuries by month and year, including the most recent provisional data available.

Where the data comes from

Mortality Data

The mortality data reported in WISQARS comes from death certificate data reported to CDC&s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). NCHS collects, compiles, verifies, and prepares these data for release to the public. The process takes approximately 13 months after the end of a given year.

Population Estimates

WISQARS's population estimates of the resident population of the United States for a given year are produced by the U.S. Census Bureau under a collaborative arrangement with the NCHS.

Please note that postcensal population estimates are updated annually, which means that fatal injury rates from WISQARS prior to the update may be different.

Race and Ethnicity

From data year 2001 to 2020, WISQARS used bridged race categories: White, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander.

Beginning with data year 2018, WISQARS' fatal injury modules include data for the current U.S. Census Bureau's six single race categories: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and More than One Race.

When exploring fatal data, users have the option to choose one of the following categories depending on the data year(s) and race categories they wish to view:

No Race Categories (available for data years 2001-present):

  • 2001 - Present with No Race excludes race as a filter category so users can look at trends across all available data years. This is the default view.

Bridged Race Category (available for data years 2001-2020):

  • 2001 - 2020 by Bridged Race allows you to see the previous bridged race categories: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

Single Race Categories (available for data years 2018-present):

  • 2018 - Present by Single Race allows you to see the current six single race categories: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and More than One Race
  • 2018 - Present by Single Race (Asian/HI Native/Pacific Islander combined) allows you to see the current single race categories with Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander as one combined race category.

Data collection methods

The mortality statistics in WISQARS fatal injury modules are based on codes in the International Classification of Disease-10th Revision (ICD-10). ICD-10 is used in various countries worldwide for coding death. The ICD-10 codes include code sets for

  • Types of disease
  • Medical procedures
  • External causes of injury

The numbers of deaths by external cause of injury were determined using the underlying cause of death codes from the annual mortality data file of CDC' National Vital Statistics System.

For more information, visit the NCHS web page on mortality data.

What the data includes

Data on more than 20 causes of injury among different populations and geographic locations can be explored in WISQARS™.

Users can search, sort, and view fatal injury data and create reports, charts, and maps based on the following:

  • Intent of injury (unintentional injury, violence-related, homicide/assault, legal intervention, suicide).
  • Mechanism (cause) of injury such as fall, fire, firearm, motor vehicle crash, poisoning, or suffocation.
  • Geographic location (national, regional, state, county).
  • Sex, race/ethnicity, and age of the injured person.

How the data benefits public health

Researchers, the media, federal, state, and local public health professionals, and the public can use WISQARS™ fatal data to:

  • Characterize and monitor fatal injuries trends.
  • Identify new or developing injury problems.
  • Identify persons at risk of fatal injuries.
  • Provide reliable surveillance data for program and policy decisions.