We’re officially more than a month into the brand new year. As is the custom, let’s take a look at the official drowning stats for January 2021.

U.S. Drowning Stats for January 2021

Each month, we compare the numbers for each of the past 11 years of drowning statistics. For years, we’ve been happy to share statistics and maps provided to us by Total Aquatic Programming. In the next section, you’ll see a chart that explores the drowning stats for the month of January. Included are stats for 2021 and then each previous year, going all the way back to 2009.

With these numbers and charts, we can discover patterns of behavior that may be leading to sudden upticks in drownings. It’s also helpful for picking up on trends, like which age group is in the most danger. Through careful analysis, water safety experts are able to recognize potential dangers and adjust safety education accordingly.

Total Aquatic Programming’s data tracks more than 15 separate items from every drowning that occurs throughout the country.

These items include, but are not limited to:

  • date
  • state
  • city
  • county
  • age and gender of the victim
  • ethnicity, if recorded
  • body of water in which the drowning occurred
  • and several other circumstances that can help to provide some guidance in the prevention of future drownings.

Chart: Drowning Stats for January 2009-2021

January 2021 Stats

This chart focuses on four key age groups and how they are affected by drowning:

  • Children aged four and younger
  • Children aged 12 and under
  • Teenagers
  • Adults, meaning anyone older than teens

First of all, let’s discuss the good news. While the drowning stats for January 2021 aren’t the absolute lowest, they are quite low compared to other years. The colder temperatures, which of course are in addition to COVID-19 precautions, could be the cause of the lower numbers. Either way, less drowning news is good news!

Chart: Drowning Stats for January 2021

The group that is most affected, according the statistics, is adults. For this reason, we shouldn’t neglect swimming safety and education, no matter our age. After all, it only takes a moment for someone to slip under the waves. A false sense of security can be deadly, so it always pays to be prepared. Don’t go into the water alone, and always be sure to swim with a buddy. 

Understanding The Numbers: Drowning Maps for 2019/2020

In addition to the drowning stats for January 2021, Total Aquatic Programming has provided us with two additional graphics. The first is a nationwide drowning map for all of 2019. This map identifies “hot spots” of child drowning incidents on a state-by-state basis. Please take a look at the map below. It has been updated to include all drownings that occurred since July 2019.


Up next is the detailed 2020 map that takes a closer look at child drownings. Please note that the numbers listed on each state represent the ages of the children involved in these incidents, not the number of children. Each age represents one child. For example, a 12-year-old would be listed on the map as “12.”


If drownings were increasing at the same rate as population growth over the past 11 years, the number of drownings would be 16% higher than they are currently. So in spite of the raw numbers, when put into proper context, this is a success!

10 year drowning analysis 

Where Do These Drowning Stats Come From?

All of these U.S. Drowning Stats and graphics are brought to us courtesy of Sue and Mick Nelson of Total Aquatic Programming, LLC. USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States, also uses this information. If you are interested in learning more about the people behind this data, watch our full Child Safety Source interview with Mick Nelson. Additionally, you can visit Total Aquatic Programming’s official website.