Background: The aim of this study was to analyze trends in overall and cause specific mortality in young people from 15 to 34 years-old residing in the city of Barcelona (Spain) from 1983 to 1993.
Methods: Data were obtained from death certificates. The overall deaths as well as deaths due to motor vehicle accidents, suicide, AIDS and drug overdose were studied. Annual crude and standardized rates were calculated (direct method) by sex and cause of death. Simple lineal regression analysis was performed to model time trends.
Results: Global mortality rates increased from 65.7 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1983 to 114.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1993. By causes, AIDS changed from being non existent as a cause of death in 1983 to becoming the main cause of death since 1990 to the present time (standardized rate = 45.6/100,000 inhabitants for men and 18.25 for women in 1993). In addition, this cause has experienced a significant increase among people older than 20 years. Overdose was the only cause with a significant increase in all age groups in men and women. Motor vehicle crashes were the main cause of death in the youngest age group (15-19 years) with significant increases in men.
Conclusions: Since 1990, AIDS and drug overdoses are the principal causes of death in young people in the city of Barcelona. Although this situation has left motor vehicle accidents in the third place, deaths from this cause have also increased.