Original Paper

Journal of Community Health

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 69-75

First online:

Drowning Mortality in the United States, 1999–2006

  • Muazzam NasrullahAffiliated withInjury Control Research Center, West Virginia UniversityDepartment of Community Medicine, Health Science Center, West Virginia University School of MedicineCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Email author 
  • , Sana MuazzamAffiliated withStanford Center for Professional Development, Stanford University

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Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional fatalities in the US. Our study described demographics and trend analysis of unintentional drowning mortality in the US from 1999 to 2006, and identifies the changes in deaths for specific population subgroups. Mortality data came from the CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. Trends during 1999–2006 were analyzed by gender, age group and race. Annual percentage change in deaths/rates and simple linear regression was used for time-trend analysis from 1999 to 2006, and examines its significance. During 1999–2006, there were 27,514 deaths; 21,668 (78.8%) males, 21,380 (77.7%) whites, and 4,241 (15.4%) aged 00–04 years. The annual number of drowning mortality varied from a high of 3,529 in 1999 to a low of 3,281 in 2001. Overall, deaths were increased 1.4% from 3,529 during 1999 to 3,579 deaths during 2006 however, the overall mortality rate decreased by 5%. The proportion of deaths was significantly greater among males than females (27.4 vs. 13.7%: p < 0.001) and blacks than among all other races combined (32.5 vs. 21.3%: p < 0.001). Fatalities reported from California (n = 3,234; 11.75%), Florida (n = 2,852; 10.37%) and Texas (n = 2,395; 8.70%) accounted for 30.82% of all such deaths in the US. Sub-group analyses showed that drowning mortality decreased 0.72% for males but increased 9.52% for females, the trend differ significantly among males and females (p < 0.001). Males, American Indians, and blacks appear to have higher risk of drowning mortality. The trend varied among sexes, age and racial groups from 1999 to 2006. Preventive measures and continuous surveillance is warranted to further decrease these drowning mortalities.


Drowning Mortality American Indian Blacks Race United States