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Which causes of death have the most (roughly) constant incidence rate among all age groups, and what are the mechanisms whereby those causes of death have this property? (Any answer can of course look more like "here's an example and its graph- it's pretty constant" given how difficult I assume an exhaustive statistical analysis would be to produce.)

For example, cancer is not nearly constant because it mostly affects older people and neither is gun trauma because it mostly affects young adults. I recognize this question may be a bit loose because I have little to no medical experience from which to draw in the service of more precise wording, so feel free to interpret "cause of death" however is most convenient to answer the question in an interesting and/or enlightening way. Regarding research, I tried to Google an answer to this question but only got articles talking about how aging and death seem to be inevitable (which apparently Google is allowing as a synonym for invariant given the words "age" and "death"), so either I'm not asking the question right or nobody's asked it before (at least in a way that helps me). As for motivation, I just got curious recently and decided to ask around. Hope that's acceptable- thanks!

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  • Any particular location, or globally? Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 3:23
  • @JiminyCricket. I prefer globally, I think, but regional rate analysis could absolutely be cool as well. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 3:29

1 Answer 1

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Nothing is really "invariant", especially if you include the very young and very old. All of the most common causes of death are strongly age dependent:

https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/leading_causes_of_death_by_age_group_2018-508.pdf

"Unintentional injury" as a fairly broad category is pretty constant from ages 15-64; I assume a substantial fraction of these are due to car accidents. Above age 65 death rates from injury increase quite a bit, since older people are more likely to die in the same circumstance that a younger person survives, and start to encounter more age-related injuries (e.g., "falls").

There are some injury causes that are fairly constant for, say, children through adulthood (from https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/all-injuries/deaths-by-demographics/deaths-by-age/data-details/ )

Drowning:

While relatively stable and low for all ages, the death rates for drowning showed peaks in the first few years of life and again at some very old ages

Fire:

Slightly elevated at very young ages; death rate peaked at age 95, with a rate of 8.2 per 100,000 population

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  • Ah well. A great answer, though not the information I was hoping for. From the websites you link, it does look like drowning (1A) or fire (1B) are probably my best bets as far as causes of death with the properties that interested me. Thank you! Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 0:20
  • @LieutenantZipp I'm curious what exactly you were hoping for.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 0:31
  • Oh, I was hoping for a more positive result. I was thinking if something had a rate of (say) 0.7-1.5 per 100K per year across the range 1-90 or something like that. Obviously most things tend to spike at either really low or really high ages, but I was hoping for something that didn't so much at any point. Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 0:36
  • @LieutenantZipp I mean more like...for what? What is this information useful for to you?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 0:49
  • It's not. It's a theoretical curiosity. Does it have to be useful to be interesting? Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 1:16

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