Comparing Cause of Death across Race, Gender, and Age

This figure examines gun death patterns in the context of all other causes of death.

The analysis uses 2010 Multiple Cause-of-Death Mortality file from the National Vital Statistics System (easy data access provided by NBER).  The data contains information on underlying causes of death (which is noted on each death certificate) for all deaths occurring in the US in 2010, along with basic background information on the deceased such as their age, gender, & race.

The numbers in the graph represent % of deaths accounted for by major causes–within each age group (filters on the right provide navigation to different race/gender combinations).

  • Unnatural causes such as accident, suicide, and homicide comprise a larger proportion of deaths in the younger populations.
  • More intriguing is the distribution of these causes across racial groups.
    • For instance, homicide accounted for over half of all Black male deaths in the 15-24 age group, while only 6% of the total white male deaths in this age bracket were due to homicide.
    • In contrast, the majority (51%) of white male deaths in this age bracket are due to accidents (use the race filter to see this).
  • Interesting patterns also appear in the proportion of suicide across race/gender. The second tab “Compare race” provides the same information, contrasting racial differences in 3 unnatural causes of deaths: accidents, homicide, & suicides.