Macro determinants of cause-specific injury mortality in the OECD countries: an exploration of the importance of GDP and unemployment

J Community Health. 2011 Aug;36(4):574-82. doi: 10.1007/s10900-010-9343-5.


Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and unemployment has a strong documented impact on injury mortality. The aim of our study is to investigate the relationship of GDP per capita and unemployment with gender- and cause-specific injury mortalities in the member nations of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Country-based data on injury mortality per 100,000 population, including males and females aged 1-74, for the 4 year period 1996-1999, were gathered from the World Health Organization's Statistical Information System. We selected fourteen cause-specific injury mortalities. Data on GDP, unemployment rate and population growth were taken from World Development Indicators. GDP and unemployment rate per 100 separately were regressed on total and cause-specific injury mortality rate per 100,000 for males and females. Overall in the OECD countries, GDP per capita increased 12.5% during 1996-1999 (P = 0.03) where as unemployment rate decreased by 12.3% (P = 0.05). Among males, most cause-specific injury mortality rates decreased with increasing GDP except motor vehicle traffic crashes (MTC) that increased with increasing GDP (coefficient = 0.75; P < 0.001). Similar trend was found in females, except suicidal injury mortalities that also increased with increasing GDP (coefficient = 0.31; P = 0.04). When we modeled cause-specific injury mortality rates with unemployment, injuries due to firearm missiles (coefficient = 0.53; P < 0.001), homicide (coefficient = 0.36; P < 0.001), and other violence (coefficient = 0.41; P < 0.001) increased with increase in unemployment rate among males. However, among females only accidental falls (coefficient = 0.36; P = 0.01) were found significantly associated with increasing unemployment rate. GDP is more related to cause-specific injury mortality than unemployment. Injury mortality does not relate similarly to each diagnosis-specific cause among males and females. Further research on causation with more predictors is needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income / trends*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Unemployment / trends*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Young Adult