Risk of drowning more prevalent in the summer months | The Numbers Racket

Of those under age 30 in the U.S., drowning is one of the top three leading causes of death by unintentional injury.

By: - August 23, 2021 6:30 am

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Summer may be the ideal time to hit the beach, jump in the pool or float down the creek with friends, but it’s also the most common time of year for drownings to occur. 

About 11 people per day – more than 3,960 people each year – die in the United States from drowning, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. 

Fast Facts on Drowning

Of those under age 30 in the U.S., drowning is one of the top three leading causes of death by unintentional injury.

From 1999 to 2019, nearly 42 percent — or 34,315, of the 82,000 unintentional drowning deaths – were among people 29 years and younger, according to a recent CDC study.

From 2015 to 2019, Pennsylvania recorded 0.76 drowning deaths per 100,000 people. Nationally over the same time period, the U.S. reported 1.23 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Who’s Most at Risk? 

Children ages 1-4 are most at risk for drowning. In fact, It is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 1-14, according to the CDC. 

Men account for nearly 80 percent of people who die from drowning. The CDC notes that increased exposure to water, risk-taking behavior and alcohol use may be contributing factors to the high percentage of men who die from drowning. 

Risk by Race and Ethnicity

Racial and ethnic disparities also impact the number of instances of drownings in the U.S.

Native Americans and Alaska Natives ages 29 and under are twice as likely to die by drowning compared to the rates of white Americans. 

The drowning rate for Black Americans is 1.5 times higher than the rate of white Americans. In fact, Black children ages 10-14 down at rates 7.6 times higher than white children in swimming pools. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.