Massachusetts injury facts & highlights

An overview of fatal and non-fatal injuries, and suicide and homicide deaths in MA

What are injuries?

Injuries are bodily harm – fatal or nonfatal - that can be caused by fires, motor vehicle crashes, drowning, sharp objects, firearms, being struck by an object, tripping and falling, pedestrian injuries and more. Injuries may be unintentional (sometimes referred to as “accidental”), self-related harm or assault-related. Poisonings, which include drug overdoses, are also a type of injury.

Fatal injuries of MA residents

  • Injuries are the third leading cause of death among Massachusetts residents. They are also the leading cause of death among Massachusetts residents ages 1 to 44.
  • In 2014, 3,689 Massachusetts residents died as a result of injuries, or 10 persons per day.
  • 3 out of 4 injury deaths (78%) were due to unintentional injuries (n=2,859), nearly 1 in 5 died from suicide (n=616, 17%), and 4% died as a result of homicides (n=153).
Injury Deaths, MA 2014 (n=3,689). Unintentional Injuries 78%, Suicides 17%, Homicides 4%, Undetermined 1%

Non-fatal injuries of MA residents

  • In 2014, unintentional injuries accounted for 3 out of 4 (74%) of the 72,581 injury-related hospital stays.
  • A majority of the unintentional injury hospital stays were due to falls (59%). Over two-thirds (71%) of these falls involved MA adults ages 65 and older.
Unintentional Injury Hospital Stays by Cause, MA 2014 (n=53,721). Fall 59%, Other/Unknown 28%, MV Traffic 7%, Poisoning/Overdose 6%

Suicide deaths of MA residents

  • Massachusetts has a lower rate of suicides compared to the U.S. In 2015, the age-adjusted rate for the U.S. was 13.3/100,000 persons compared to 9.3/100,000 persons for MA.
  • Suicide rates in MA have increased an average of 2.6% per year between 2005 and 2015. This rise mirrors the U.S. age-adjusted rates which increased an average of 2% per year since 2005.
  • In 2015, the number of suicides was two times higher than the number of motor vehicle traffic-related deaths and four times higher than homicides.
Suicides, Homicides, and Motor Vehicle Deaths, MA 2005-2015
  • While males make up the majority (74%) of suicides in MA in 2015, there have been steady increases in the rates of suicides for both sexes between 2005 and 2015. From 2005 to 2015, the rate of suicides increased 26% for males and 34% for females.  
  • For 2011-2015, the average annual age-adjusted suicide rate was highest among white, non-Hispanic males (15.0/100,000, n=1,986).
Average Annual Suicide Rates by Sex and Race/Ethnicity, MA 2011-2015

Homicide deaths of MA residents

  • In 2015, there were 146 homicides in Massachusetts (2.2/100,000).
  • Two out of five (41%) homicide victims were black, non-Hispanic (n=60), even though black, non-Hispanics make up less than 10% of the Massachusetts population.
  • The male rate of homicide was almost four times higher than the female rate.
  • The highest homicide rates by age group was among 25-34 year olds (5.1/100,000, n=48) and 15-24 year olds (5.0/100,000, n=48). The rate for both these age groups was twice the overall statewide rate of 2.2/100,000.
  • The highest male homicide rates by age group were among 15-24 year olds (9.4/100,000, n=45) and 25-34 year olds (7.4/100,000, n=35). The rates for both these age groups was over twice the male statewide rate of 3.5/100,000 and three and a half times higher than the overall statewide rate of 2.2/100,000.
Homicide Rates by Sex and Age Group, MA 2015

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