Personal Injuries Cost U.S. Economy $4.2 Trillion Per Year: CDC Study

More than half the annual cost of injuries comes from working-age people, the report found.

The findings of two new federal reports highlight the impact on the U.S. economy from personal injuries, both involving accidents and violence, which cost more than $4.2 trillion dollars and led to nearly 250,000 deaths in 2019.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the reports earlier this month, focusing on the economic toll injuries cost the economy, as well as the toll injuries cost in lives lost. The two reports, Economic Cost of Injury and State-Level Economic Costs fo Fatal Injuries were both published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The reports were compiled using fatal and nonfatal injury data from the CDC’s Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System which matched information to medical care, work loss, value of statistical life and quality of life loss costs.

According to the findings, unintentional and violence-related injuries, which include suicide, were among the top 10 causes of U.S. deaths among all age groups. The wide range of injuries caused nearly 27 million nonfatal emergency room visits in 2019.

In 2019, 70% of injuries were attributable to unintentional injuries. Of those, 36% were from drug poisoning, 23% from falls, and 22% from car crashes.

The estimated economic cost of injuries was $4.2 trillion in 2019, and more than half of this cost was among working-aged adults 25 to 64 years old. A total of $327 billion was spent on medical care costs, $69 billion was lost due to work loss, and $3.8 trillion was lost in statistical life and quality of life value.

The economic cost was the highest for people ages 25 to 44 years old and 45 to 64 years, at $1.2 trillion for each age group. The cost for people over the age of 65 was $906 billion. Even though the injury fatality rate was the highest for people over the aged of 65, the economic cost was higher for people ages 25 to 44.

The cost of suicide deaths was highest among people ages 45 to 64 at $174 billion, and the economic cost of nonfatal injuries was highest among those aged 65 and older at $645 billion.

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The second report focused on state level economic costs of fatal injuries in 2019. During that year, injuries accounted for 246,041 US deaths resulting in an economic cost of $2.2 trillion.

Cost per person ranged widely from the low end to the high end depending on the state. West Virginia had the highest per capita cost of fatal injury at $11,274 per person. Conversely, New York had the lowest per capital cost at $4,538.

Overall, the states with the highest per capita fatal injury costs were Alaska, Washington DC, Louisiana, New Mexico and West Virginia. The states with the lowest per capita cost of fatal injuries were in California, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Texas.

“Unintentional and violence-related injuries are costly and preventable,” indicated the CDC report. “Resources for best practices for preventing injuries and violence are available online from CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.”


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