Asian-Americans have one-quarter the traffic death rate of Americans as a whole

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

The Japanese risk of dying in a traffic accident is one-sixth the American risk, David Zipper pointed out before explaining all the ways Japan makes its roadways safer — but I pointed out a more parsimonious explanation: Asian-Americans have one-quarter the traffic death rate of Americans as a whole.



  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    We need a better vocabulary. Say “Asian” to an American and we think of people whose ancestry was Japanese or Chinese, maybe Vietnamese. Say “Asian” to a Brit and they assume the people came from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh.

    So when we are told that “Asians” are dying at a much lower rate in US traffic accidents, is this because they are super-smart careful Japanese or because they are H1-B Indians who are paid too little to afford cars?

  2. Gwern says:

    They also tend to be more urbanized, and suffer less from pathologies like alcoholism. (Anytime you see something bad where ‘American Indian/Alaska Native’ is high and Asian is all the way on the other hand low, immediately think: “alcoholism?” If you know any Alaskans, they have stories to tell…) I wonder as well about age pyramids.

  3. Chedolf says:

    “We need a better vocabulary.”

    There’s nothing wrong with using “Oriental” to refer to Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese.

  4. Bomag says:

    “We need a better vocabulary.”

    One practical step is to use geographic indicators: Northeast Asians; Southeast Asians; Southwest Asians.

  5. Borepatch says:

    Maybe death rate adjusted for miles driven?

  6. Goober says:

    I’d suggest that the highly urbanized nature of life in, say, Japan, simply means that people are using public transit and not driving as much. So of course traffic incidents and deaths per capita ore down.

    More interesting is why the reduction in traffic deaths in America. I think this one, we’ll find as well, is a result of driving less miles. But I don’t know how . Maybe they remain more urbanized even once they move here? But I practically guarantee you that it isn’t some social, cultural, or racial difference unless it’s one of those driving them to ride in cars less.

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