V. FIREARM-RELATED YEARS OF POTENTIAL LIFE LOST
BEFORE AGE 65 (YPLL)
YPLL is a measure of premature, or preventable, mortality occurring before the age of 65, calculated as the difference between age 65 and the age at death. The causes of death that primarily affect younger persons often do not show up among the leading causes of death for the total population. By highlighting the causes of premature mortality, YPLL is an important tool for emphasizing and evaluating the losses to society incurred by these deaths. Total firearm-related YPLL is the sum of YPLL from all persons dying from firearm-related causes before the age of 65. For example, a person dying from a firearm-related suicide at the age of 45 contributes 20 years to the total firearm-related YPLL (65-45=20 YPLL).
Firearm-related deaths were the fourth leading contributor of YPLL in both the United
States and West Virginia in 1991 (the latest year for which national data were available
at time of publication). Nationally, 1,072,565 YPLL (9.0% of total YPLL for all causes)
were due to firearms, following non-firearm-related unintentional injuries (2,002,616),
cancer (1,772,010), and heart disease (1,312,765) (11). In West Virginia in that
year, 7,466 YPLL (8.7% of total YPLL for all causes) were firearm-related, coming after
non-firearm-related unintentional injuries (19,143), cancer (15,161), and heart disease
The distribution of firearm-related YPLL between suicides and homicides differed markedly between the United States and West Virginia in 1991. In the nation as a whole, homicides accounted for 57.4% of all firearm-related YPLL, while suicides accounted for 36.7%. In the state, however, suicides contributed 54.4% of total firearm-related YPLL, while homicides accounted for 32.6%. Figure 19 illustrates this difference.
Back to Index
Health Statistics Center
Office of Epidemiology and Health Promotion
West Virginia Bureau for Public Health
Last updated 02/07/06