Fall Prevention Statistics


an older person using a walking cane

In the U.S. and abroad, falls are a significant health concern, specifically for older demographics. In 2022, there were 46,653 fall fatalities in the U.S., with 88% of incidents affecting those ages 65 and older. Over the past decade, falling deaths among older adults have increased by 60%. While this increase can partially be attributed to our increasingly long life spans and higher overall population, it still underscores the urgency of effective fall prevention strategies at home, in hospitals, and within the workplace.

Falls remain a major issue in hospitals. They affect between 700,000 and 1 million patients annually, with about 30% to 50% resulting in injury. Up to 44% of these injuries can be severe, leading to complications that greatly increase the risk of death. Identifying risks and implementing preventive measures can help reduce falls for any demographic.

Key Insights

  • There were 46,628 fall fatalities in 2022, with 40,919 of those fatalities affecting those ages 65 and older. In the past 10 years alone, falling deaths among older adults increased by nearly 70%.
  • Adults ages 65 and older accounted for 88% of all falling fatalities in 2022. Older adults are consistently at the highest risk of falling due to muscle and vision loss, medication, dizziness, and other risk factors.
  • Falls are especially prevalent in hospitals, affecting 700,000 to 1 million patients annually. Approximately 30% to 50% of these falls result in injury, with up to 44% of those injuries being severe enough to put patients at risk of death.
  • Men are more prone to fatal falls, while women and children are more likely to experience nonfatal falls with increased injury severity.
  • Approximately 20% to 30% of inpatient falls in hospitals can be prevented by identifying risks and providing effective interventions.

Fall Prevention Statistics

Falling incidents are a major issue in homes and hospitals nationwide. In U.S. hospitals, falls affect 700,000 to 1 million patients annually and can have severe consequences. Around 30% to 50% of these falls result in injury, with up to 44% of those injuries putting patients at risk of death from fractures, subdural hematomas, excessive bleeding, and other medical emergencies.

Falls are also as expensive as they are life-threatening. Between 2015 and 2018, the average cost of falls with serious injuries in U.S. hospitals increased from $14,000 to $27,000 (a 93% increase).

Older Adult Falls Yearly

Fall rates are increasing year over year, especially for the share of the population ages 65 and older. The fall rate for those ages 65-plus reached 70.8% in 2022, a 144% increase from 1999 when the fall rate was only 29%. Fatalities for older adults are also increasing, with 40,919 deaths in 2022, compared to 10,097 in 1999. Overall, fall rates and deaths for older adults have been increasing consistently for the past 20-plus years.
This is also true for adults under 65 years old, whose fall rates increased from 1.25% to 2.1% during the same period. Annual fatalities for this demographic also increased from 3,061 to 5,709.

Falling Deaths Annually

In 2022, there were 46,653 falling deaths nationwide. Fall deaths have been steadily on the rise since 2000, especially among adults ages 65 and older. In the past 10 years alone, falling deaths among older adults increased by 60%, while deaths for those under the age of 65 also increased by 23%. This increase can be attributed to several causes, including an increase in people’s average life span and a rise in the overall population.

Are Falls More Dangerous for Men or Women?

Falls are prevalent across all age groups, genders, and regions. However, men are more prone to fall fatalities than women, consistently sustaining higher death rates and DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) lost. This is partially due to an increased chance of risk-taking behaviors and hazards within occupations.

On the other hand, women are more likely to suffer nonfatal falls. This is especially true for older women and younger children, who are both more prone to falls and increased injury severity. Other risk factors for preventable falls include:

  • Hazardous working conditions: Working at elevated heights or in dangerous environments significantly increases the risk of falls. This is part of the reason why men, who are more likely to work these jobs, have higher fatality rates.
  • Alcohol or substance use: The use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances can impair judgment, coordination, and balance, leading to a higher likelihood of falling.
  • Socioeconomic factors: Poverty, overcrowded housing, sole parenthood, and young maternal age are all socioeconomic conditions that can contribute to a higher risk of falls. Globally, low- and middle-income countries account for over 80% of fall fatalities. 
  • Underlying medical conditions: Conditions like neurological disorders, cardiac issues, or other disabilities can increase falling risk.
  • Medication side effects: Certain medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or loss of balance, particularly among older adults.
  • Poor mobility, cognition, and vision: From older adults with cognitive decline to young children struggling to balance, these factors can increase the risk of falling. Older adults are especially vulnerable, as 20% to 30% who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries (e.g., bruises, hip fractures, head trauma).
  • Unsafe environments: The chance of falling increases considerably when environments aren’t adapted to the needs of those with poor balance and limited vision.

How Can Falls Be Prevented?

Falls can be incredibly dangerous, with 30% to 50% resulting in some physical injury and 1% to 3% causing a fracture. However, some falls are entirely preventable. By identifying risks, taking preventative measures, and providing effective interventions, 20% to 30% of inpatient falls in hospital settings can be averted. Some of the best ways to stop preventable falls include the following:

  • Stay active and improve balance with exercise.
  • Fall-proof your home by removing hazards and installing grab bars.
  • Limit alcohol consumption or other substance use. 
  • Get regular checkups for your vision, hearing, and medications.
  • Use assistive devices like canes or walkers if needed.
  • Use community services for prescription and grocery delivery.
  • Wear nonskid, rubber-soled, or low-heeled shoes.
  • Be extra cautious on slippery surfaces.

What Wearable Technology Can Help?

In a world driven by new technologies, many devices can help prevent falls. Examples of wearable fall-detection devices include watches, pendants, and clips. These technologies have a variety of pros and cons.


  • Sensor technology: Today’s wearable sensors can detect a shift in acceleration, body position, and impact more accurately than non-wearable sensors. This reduces the chances of false alarms and allows falls to be caught more often. 
  • Immediate alerts: These devices can send alerts for immediate help after detecting a fall, which can be crucial in emergencies.
  • Variety of devices: From watches to pendants, there is a comfortable piece of wearable technology out there for almost every preference and lifestyle.


  • False alarms: Even with advanced sensors, detection technology may generate false alarms and cause unnecessary worry or disruptions.
  • Proper placement required: Wearable sensors need to be placed on your body correctly for proper functionality. Incorrect placement can lead to missed detections or false alerts.


What percentage of falls can be prevented?

Falls can be prevented by identifying risks and providing effective interventions. Some of these interventions include exercising, removing hazards, limiting substance use, using assistive devices and services, and wearing footwear that effectively grips the floor.

What are the 5 P's of fall prevention?

The 5 P’s of fall prevention are a nursing intervention that allows health care professionals to identify high-risk patients and communicate observations effectively. The 5 P’s include Pain, Position, Proximity, Pathway, and Potty.

  • Pain: Assessing and managing pain allows health care professionals to prevent falls caused by discomfort or impaired mobility.
  • Position: Given that many falls are caused by a lack of balance, ensuring patients are in safe and comfortable positions can help minimize the risk of falling. 
  • Proximity: Keeping the patient’s belongings and other essential items within easy reach helps prevent them from reaching or moving unsafely.
  • Pathway: Keeping rooms clutter-free helps ensure a patient's pathway is clear of obstacles and hazards that could cause a fall.
  • Potty: Regularly check if patients require bathroom assistance to avoid falls associated with urgent or unassisted trips to the bathroom.

What is the biggest risk factor for falls?

Age-related muscle weakness (sarcopenia) and other medical issues like low blood pressure when standing up (postural hypotension) are the biggest risk factors for falling. In both instances, older adults are at a much higher risk than younger individuals.5

However, there are ultimately several risk factors that can contribute to falls. Anything from medication to poor eyesight can play a role.

What population is most at risk for falls?

Older adults ages 65-plus are at the highest risk for falls. With 40,919 falling fatalities in 2022, adults ages 65 and older accounted for nearly 88% of all falling fatalities. In the same year, older adults experienced a fall rate of 70.8%, compared to only 2.1% for those under 65 years old.

Are falls 100% preventable?

No, not all falls are 100% preventable. While up to 30% of falls are preventable, the majority have a multitude of causes related to age, sex, medical history, and environment.


Older Adult Falls.” National Safety Council Injury Facts. Evaluated June 3, 2024.

Number of deaths due to falls in the United States from 1915 to 2022*.” Statista. Evaluated June 4, 2024.

Falls.” World Health Organization. Evaluated June 4, 2024.

Prevention of falls in hospital.” PubMed Central. Evaluated June 4, 2024.

Falls and Fractures in Older Adults: Causes and Prevention.” National Institute on Aging. Evaluated June 4, 2024.

Falls Detection and Prevention Systems in Home Care for Older Adults: Myth or Reality?” National Library of Medicine. Evaluated June 5, 2024.

Apuron, R., & Tanglao, J. “Fall Prevention Program.” Guam Memorial Hospital Authority. Evaluated June 5, 2024.

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