In 1999, the injury death rate for black males aged 15–24 in the USA was 80% greater than for white males: 148.5 vs 82.5/100 000, a difference of 66/100 000. Injury-specific changes between 1999 and 2005 in death rates for the 15–24 age group and in racial disparity were analysed using data from CDC’s WISQARS. The gap between black and white all-injury death rates in males was reduced by 24%, to a difference of 50/100 000, largely because of greater decreases in the rates for motor vehicle crashes and firearm suicide in young black men than young white men, and large increases in suicide by suffocation and unintentional poisoning in the latter. Among females, despite a reduction in the black/white gap in firearm homicide rates, the gap between the races in total injury rates changed from a small black excess to a higher rate in young white women, which was due primarily to greater increases in these white women than black women in unintentional poisoning and suicide by suffocation, and greater decreases in black women than white women in firearm suicide.
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Competing interests: None.