The effects of race, socioeconomic status, and household structure on injury mortality in children and young adults

Matern Child Health J. 1997 Dec;1(4):217-27. doi: 10.1023/a:1022318610868.


Objectives: Injuries are the leading killer of young persons in the United States, yet significant gaps in our understanding of this cause of death remain. By examining the independent influences of race, education, income, household structure, and residential location on injury mortality in young persons, this study addresses these gaps.

Method: Using data from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study, survival analysis is used to examine the injury mortality risk faced by 0 to 17 year olds over a nine-year follow-up period. Separate models are estimated for homicide, suicide, unintentional injury deaths, and all injury deaths.

Results: Household head's education has an independent effect on youth homicide and unintentional injury mortality risk. By contrast, family income and household structure do not have independent effects on any of the injury outcomes. Finally, much of the excess homicide risk faced by young African-Americans is explained by underlying racial differentials in socioeconomic status, household structure, and residential location.

Conclusions: By finding an independent effect of household head's education on youth mortality risk from homicide and unintentional injuries, this study adds to the large body of evidence linking socioeconomic differentials to inequality in life chances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Black People
  • Cause of Death*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*