Context: Urban-rural disparity is an important issue for injury control in China. Details of the urban-rural disparities in fatal injuries have not been analyzed.
Purpose: To target key injury causes that most contribute to the urban-rural disparity, we decomposed total urban-rural differences in 2006 injury mortality by gender, age, and cause.
Methods: Mortality data came from the Chinese Vital Registration data, covering a sample of about 10% of the total population. The chi-square test was used to test the significance of urban-rural disparities.
Findings: For all ages combined, the injury death rate for males was 60.1/100,000 in rural areas compared with 40.9 in urban areas; for females, the respective rates were 31.5 and 23.6/100,000. The greatest disparity was at age <1 year for both sexes, where the rate from unintentional suffocation in rural areas was more than twice the urban rate. The higher mortality from drowning among males of all ages and among females ages 1-24 and 35+ contributed substantially to the age-specific urban-rural disparities. For both sexes, transportation incidents and suicide were the most important contributors to higher rates among rural residents ages 15+.
Conclusions: Unintentional suffocation, drowning, transportation incidents, and suicide not only are the major causes of injury death, but also play a key role in explaining the urban-rural disparities in fatal injuries. Further research is needed to identify factors leading to higher rural death rates and to explore economical and feasible interventions for reducing injuries and narrowing the urban-rural gap in injury mortality.