Child Fire Death Rates and Relative Risk (2001-2010)
See also: Overall Trends | Older Adult Fire Death Trends

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On a per capita basis, fire death rates are declining, partially due to an increase in the U.S. population and an overall decline in the numbers of reported fires and fire deaths. In the case of fire deaths, fire death rates are measured by deaths per million population. Trends in fire death rates are computed to show how the rates have changed over time by smoothing fluctuations or variations in the data from year-to-year.

To account for population differences, per capita rates are used. Per capita rates use a common population size, which then permits comparisons between different groups.1 Perhaps the most useful way to assess fire casualties across groups is to determine the relative risk of dying or being injured. Relative risk compares the per capita rate for a particular group (e.g., children) to the overall per capita rate (i.e., the general population). The result is a measure of how likely a group is to be affected. For the general population, the relative risk is set at 1.

Overall, the trend in the fire death rate per million population for children ages 14 and under decreased 41 percent from 2001-2010. From 2001-2010, the relative risk of dying in a fire was less than that of the general population for children ages 14 and under. In 2010, the relative risk of dying in a fire for children ages 14 and under was 50 percent less than that of the general population.

1Per capita rates are determined by the number of deaths or injuries occurring to a specific population group divided by the total population for that group. This ratio is then multiplied by a common population size. For the purposes of this analysis, per capita rates for fire deaths are measured per 1 million persons. For example, the 2010 per capita fire death rate for the total older adult (ages 65 and over) population is computed from the total number of older adult fire deaths (1,200) divided by the total older adult population (40,477,304) multiplied by 1,000,000 persons. This rate is equivalent to 29.6 deaths per 1 million population.

Fire Death Rates per Million Population for Children Ages 0-14 (2001-2010)

Year Number of Fire Deaths Age 0-14 Population Fire Death Rate (per million population) Relative Risk
2001 600 60,450,257 9.9 0.7
2002 595 60,563,030 9.8 0.7
2003 530 60,628,650 8.7 0.6
2004 559 60,651,802 9.2 0.7
2005 530 60,519,046 8.8 0.6
2006 460 60,516,709 7.6 0.6
2007 510 60,681,615 8.4 0.6
2008 405 60,907,384 6.6 0.6
2009 383 61,087,581 6.3 0.6
2010 357 61,205,447 5.8 0.5
10-Year Trend (%) -40.6%  

Notes: The computation of the trend is based on the simple linear regression Method of Least Squares. The numbers of fire deaths are adjusted for those deaths where age was not reported. The counts of fire deaths for the individual age categories (i.e., 0-4, 5-9, 10-14) may not sum to the total per year for the 0-14 age category due to rounding.

Sources: 1) National Center for Health Statistics. 2001-2010 Mortality Data Files, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. 2) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2001-2009 population estimates from Table 1. Intercensal Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Age for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010 (US-EST00INT-01). Release date: September 2011. 3) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2010 population estimates from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Five-Year Age Groups for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NC-EST2011-01). Release date: May 2012.

For children under the age of 5, the fire death rate trend decreased 38 percent over the 10-year period. Children of this age group, however, have the highest fire death rates among children of all ages and, as a result, are at a higher relative risk of dying in a fire when compared to older children. Figure 2 shows the decline in the fire death rate for children ages 0 to 4.

Prior to 2005, the youngest children (ages 0 to 4) had fire death rates that were higher than that of the general population. Recent data indicate that the trend appears to be changing. The fire death rates of children ages 4 and younger are slightly less than that of the general population. This decline may be attributed, in part, to an increase in public fire education and prevention efforts.

Fire Death Rates per Million Population for Children Ages 0-4 (2001-2010)

Year Number of Fire Deaths Age 0-4 Population Fire Death Rate (per million population) Relative Risk
2001 320 19,298,217 16.6 1.2
2002 296 19,429,192 15.2 1.1
2003 288 19,592,446 14.7 1.0
2004 279 19,785,885 14.1 1.0
2005 270 19,917,400 13.6 1.0
2006 252 19,938,883 12.6 1.0
2007 267 20,125,962 13.3 1.0
2008 221 20,271,127 10.9 0.9
2009 217 20,244,518 10.7 1.0
2010 204 20,192,942 10.1 0.9
10-Year Trend (%) -37.7%  

Notes: The computation of the trend is based on the simple linear regression Method of Least Squares. The numbers of fire deaths are adjusted for those deaths where age was not reported.

Sources: 1) National Center for Health Statistics. 2001-2010 Mortality Data Files, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. 2) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2001-2009 population estimates from Table 1. Intercensal Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Age for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010 (US-EST00INT-01). Release date: September 2011. 3) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2010 population estimates from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Five-Year Age Groups for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NC-EST2011-01). Release date: May 2012.

For children ages 5 to 9, the fire death rate trend decreased 45 percent over the 10-year period. In 2010, the relative risk of dying in a fire for children ages 5 to 9 was 50 percent less than that of the general population.

Fire Death Rates per Million Population for Children Ages 5-9 (2001-2010)

Year Number of Fire Deaths Age 5-9 Population Fire Death Rate (per million population) Relative Risk
2001 181 20,173,362 9.0 0.6
2002 176 19,872,417 8.9 0.7
2003 149 19,620,851 7.6 0.5
2004 182 19,454,237 9.4 0.7
2005 156 19,389,067 8.0 0.6
2006 134 19,544,688 6.9 0.5
2007 155 19,714,611 7.9 0.6
2008 116 19,929,602 5.8 0.5
2009 98 20,182,499 4.9 0.4
2010 103 20,332,370 5.1 0.5
10-Year Trend (%) -44.9%  

Notes: The computation of the trend is based on the simple linear regression Method of Least Squares. The numbers of fire deaths are adjusted for those deaths where age was not reported.

Sources: 1) National Center for Health Statistics. 2001-2010 Mortality Data Files, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. 2) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2001-2009 population estimates from Table 1. Intercensal Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Age for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010 (US-EST00INT-01). Release date: September 2011. 3) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2010 population estimates from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Five-Year Age Groups for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NC-EST2011-01). Release date: May 2012.

The largest decline in the child fire death rate trends occurred for the group of children ages 10 to 14. From 2001 to 2010, the fire death rate trend decreased 46 percent for this age group. In 2010, the relative risk of dying in a fire for children ages 10 to 14 was 80 percent less than that of the general population.

Fire Death Rates per Million Population for Children Ages 10-14 (2001-2010)

Year Number of Fire Deaths Age 10-14 Population Fire Death Rate (per million population) Relative Risk
2001 98 20,978,678 4.7 0.3
2002 122 21,261,421 5.7 0.4
2003 92 21,415,353 4.3 0.3
2004 97 21,411,680 4.5 0.3
2005 104 21,212,579 4.9 0.4
2006 74 21,033,138 3.5 0.3
2007 87 20,841,042 4.2 0.3
2008 68 20,706,655 3.3 0.3
2009 68 20,660,564 3.3 0.3
2010 50 20,680,135 2.4 0.2
10-Year Trend (%) -46.2%  

Notes: The computation of the trend is based on the simple linear regression Method of Least Squares. The numbers of fire deaths are adjusted for those deaths where age was not reported.

Sources: 1) National Center for Health Statistics. 2001-2010 Mortality Data Files, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. 2) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2001-2009 population estimates from Table 1. Intercensal Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Age for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010 (US-EST00INT-01). Release date: September 2011. 3) U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2010 population estimates from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex and Five-Year Age Groups for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NC-EST2011-01). Release date: May 2012.


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