The Top 5 Causes of Death in the United States Military

  Cause of Death Percentage of U.S. Military Deaths
1 Suicide 28.1%
2 Transport accidents 18.3%
3 Other accidents 9.3%
4 Combat 9.0%
5 Cancer 8%
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 Facts  
  1. Since the year 2001 4,486 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, 1,950 have died in Afghanistan, and 2,676 have died by suicide as of June 10th, 2012. Active duty U.S. troops die by their own hand at a rate of one per day, on average. Among all veterans the rate is one every 80 minutes. There has been an 18% increase in suicides among active duty U.S. troops in 2012 compared with 2011. (a).
  2. 95% of suicides in the U.S. military are male (85% of the U.S. military is male). 95% are enlisted (83% of the U.S. military is enlisted). 80% are white (70% of the U.S. military is white) and 47% are under 25 (36% of the U.S. military is under 25). (a).
  3. 41% of the military personnel who committed suicide had received outpatient behavioural health services however only 4% ($2 billion) of the pentagons $53 billion annual medical bill is allocated to mental health treatment.
  4. Predictions at the current pace the (a).suicide rate will be 186 troop suicides per 100,000 in the army, 73 per 100,000 in the air force, 62 per 100,000 in the navy and 45 per 100,000 in the marines. This rate exceeds the rate in the comparable civilian population. (a).
  5. 34% of U.S. troops who committed suicide communicated the intent to someone. 30% had a failed intimate relationship in the prior month. 20% were prescribed antidepressants and 14% had injured themselves previously. Enlisted service members are more likely to kill themselves than officers and 18-to-24-year-olds are more likely to kill themselves than older troops. Two thirds do it by gunshot and 1 in 5 hangs themselves. 95% of the cases are male and a majority of them are married. (a).
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. Thompson. M., Gibbs, N. The War on Suicide. July 2012. Time. Vol. 180, No. 4. 34-43. U.S. Department of Defence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tags: Death Statistics, The United States, War and the Military

Sources:  Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center: Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, October, 2014. Volume 21, Number 10.

List Notes: Data is top 5 causes of death in the United States military for the year 2012-2013. Data is latest available as of February 1st, 2015.
Causes of Death in the United States Military

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