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Cause of injury or poisoning, second response

Codes and Frequencies

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For injury episodes that occurred in the past 3 months and for which the person reported a second cause of injury, IRCAUS2 reports the second interpreted cause of the injury or poisoning. For each unique episode, the interviewer selected the category for IRCAUS2 based on what she/he felt best described the respondent's description of how the injury or poisoning happened if there was a second cause. Please see the Comparability Tab for information on poisoning episodes. The first cause of injury is available in the variable IRCAUS1.

IRCAUS2 is an injury-level variable.

IRCAUS2 is part of a series of variables initiated in 1997 that systematically report persons' injuries and poisonings, the cause, what the person was doing while sustaining the injury or poisoning, and where she/he was at the time of the injury or poisoning. For related variables and additional information, please see the User Note on Injuries and Poisonings or use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.


IRCAUS2 is only asked about injuries, and the original data does not include poisoning episodes. However, persons could report a poisoning as the cause of their injury episode. The variable IRCAUS1 reclassifies the "out of universe" poisoning episodes to be in universe and have the cause of "Poisoning". Persons with poisoning episodes could not report a second (or first) cause of injury; poisoning episodes are not included in IRCAUS2. Persons can report a cause of their poisoning episode; this information is available in IRPOISON; this does not include injury episodes.

IRCAUS1 and IRCAUS2 are similar to, but not necessarily compatible with IRCAUSE. IRCAUSE was offered in earlier years and has slightly different categories. NCHS documentation notes that these variables may not be comparable. Value labels are similar for the 2004-2016 and 2017 categories "Fall," and "Fire, burn, scald." The 2017 categories specify that a person is a driver or passenger "in a motor vehicle" and "of other mode of transportation (boat, plane, train, golf cart, etc."; while the 2004-2016 version specifies only that the person is "[i]n a motor vehicle" or "[i]n a boat, train, or plane". Users should note there are differences in the phrasing for the 2017 categories "Rider of a bicycle/tricycle/unicycle," and "Pedestrian walking or on skateboard, skates, skis, etc. struck by vehicle or bike" as compared to the earlier versions: "On a bike, scooter, skateboard, skates, skis, horse, etc." and "Pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle such as a car or bicycle". Additionally, persons can report a poisoning as the cause of their injury in 2017, and several response categories similar to those available in 1997-2003 are included again in 2017. Users are encouraged to review IPUMS and NCHS documentation before combining these variables.


  • 2017: All injuries with a second cause.


  • 2017