Trends in violent deaths among young people 10-24 years old, in Switzerland, 1969-1997

Eur J Epidemiol. 2004;19(4):291-7. doi: 10.1023/b:ejep.0000024673.93494.2e.


Purpose: To assess violent death rates and trends between 1969 and 1997 among young people aged 10-24 years old in Switzerland.

Methods: Total causes of death, all external causes of injuries, traffic injuries, suicides and overdoses were retrieved from the databank of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO), using the eighth and tenth revisions of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Mortality rates per 100,000 individuals were computed by gender and by age (10-14, 15-19, 20-24) using census records as denominators.

Results: In 1995-1997, violent deaths represented the primary cause of fatalities among young people. Rates of violent death were much higher among males than among females, with a ratio of 3.5:1 in 1995-1997 and also became increasingly elevated from the age range of 10-14 to 20-24 years (1.9:1-4.4:1). In 1995-1997, violent deaths accounted for 66% (n = 1221) of all fatalities among young people. Among violent deaths, 36% were due to traffic injuries, 13% to other types of injuries, 32% to suicide, 15% to overdoses, 3% to homicides and 1% to undetermined intent. Between 1969 and 1997, rates of traffic injuries decreased in both genders and in the three age groups considered, while rates of suicide remained stable and rates of overdoses stabilised during the nineties after a sharp increase during the eighties.

Conclusion: Although violent deaths in Switzerland have become significantly less frequent over the last 30 years, they still represent the single greatest cause of fatalities among young people and, as such, constitute a major public health challenge.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Drug Overdose
  • Female
  • Homicide / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide / trends
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / trends