During 1999–2010, a total of 49,762 deaths from drowning occurred in the United States, an average of 4,147 deaths per year. Summer is particularly a high-risk time of year for drowning, with July being the peak month (8,683 drowning deaths in July during 1999-2010 – an average of nearly 724 drowning deaths every July).

Males are more than three times likely than females to die from drowning; the average annual death rate from drowning for males was 2.2 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.7 for females. The death rate for males was highest among those aged 1–4 years and ≥85 years (both 3.9 per 100,000 population). For females, the highest rates were among those aged 1–4 years (2.2) and <1 year (1.8).

Of the 50 U.S. states, California had the highest number of drowning deaths during 1999-2010 (5,715), followed by Florida (5,098) and Texas (4,015). However, Alaska (4.4 drowning deaths per 100,000 population) had a significantly higher death rate from drowning than any other state, with Hawaii second (2.9), Florida third (2.4) and Louisiana fourth (2.3). The high rate for Louisiana over this period, interestingly, was not influenced by a surge in drowning deaths as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – as most of those deaths were coded as victims of “cataclysmic storms.”

To view the QuickStat on drowning deaths, click here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6234a9.htm

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