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Deadly traffic crash demographics

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Person biking at SE Division at 104th a new protected bike lane sidewalks median part of PBOT Safety Project
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We use demographic data to understand how particular groups are impacted by traffic violence differently. This shapes how we respond and take action.

Race and ethnicity (2020 - 2022)

Recent Portland data shows that Black and Indigenous community members died in traffic crashes at about twice the rate relative to their proportion of the population. A recent study by Multnomah County found a similar disparity.

A double bar graph comparing the percentage of Portland population to the percentage of all traffic deaths for Black, American Indian, Latinx, Asian, Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander, white, two or more races, and unknown race/ethnicities. The gap between all traffic deaths and percentage of the Portland population is highlighted for Black and American Indian as disproportionate to the others.

Age and sex (2018 - 2022)

The ages of traffic victims vary widely, but a majority are in their mid-20s to mid-50s. In Portland, 70% of people who died in traffic crashes were assigned as male. We can conclude that males ages 26 to 55 are at the highest risk.

A bar chart for two variables showing the age and sex of people who died in Portland traffic crashes from 2018 to 2022. Female victims are roughly normally distributed by age, while man of all ages have higher rates of death with the highest around 26 - 35 and 46 - 55.

Housing status (2021 - 2022)

In the last two years in Portland, people experiencing houselessness were nearly 80 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than the population overall, according to the 2022 Point in Time Count report. Housing status data from 2021 and 2022 police crash reports indicate that 55% of pedestrians killed - 30 out of 55 - were unhoused when they died. The staggeringly disproportionate impact on this population speaks to the extreme risk of persistent exposure to traffic, often on high-speed streets.

Disability

National research finds pedestrians with disabilities have a significantly higher risk of death from traffic violence. While Portland data on this is incomplete, we understand that social identities – including disability, race, ethnicity, gender identity, social class, religion, and sexual orientation – overlap with one another and can cumulatively impact a person’s safety while getting around. We also know that prioritizing the needs of those experiencing the greatest disparities will in turn improve outcomes for all users.