Overall Fire Death Rates and Relative Risk (2001-2010)
See also: Older Adult Fire Death Trends | Child 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., older adults) 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 10-year trend in the fire death rate per million population decreased 21 percent from 2001-2010. The table and chart below show the decline in the fire death rate trend.

Fire Death Rates per Million Population (2001-2010)

Year Number of Fire Deaths Population Fire Death Rate (per million population)
2001 4,013 284,968,955 14.1
2002 3,889 287,625,193 13.5
2003 4,126 290,107,933 14.2
2004 3,993 292,805,298 13.6
2005 3,983 295,516,599 13.5
2006 3,940 298,379,912 13.2
2007 3,994 301,231,207 13.3
2008 3,650 304,093,966 12.0
2009 3,391 306,771,529 11.1
2010 3,445 309,330,219 11.1
10-Year Trend (%) -21.2%

Note: The computation of the trend is based on the simple linear regression Method of Least Squares.

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 for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2010 (ST-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 Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NST-EST2011-01). Release date: December 2011.

1 Per 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.

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