and other California rivers every now and then, so it doesn’t seem likely that the existence of canals could be the sole reason for the large difference.
So what can explain the disparity? A big difference between the two states is the average yearly temperature.
While they do call it Sunny California, the entire state does experience enough of a winter that makes swimming an uninviting prospect for months at a time. Even in the southernmost parts of California, where residents enjoy minimally fluctuating temperatures, most people don’t swim in their pools from about November to March.
In much of Florida, on the other hand, it’s pretty much always swim season. With temperatures rarely dropping below 60 degrees, but usually hovering in the mid to late 70s during winter months, there’s no reason to not jump in the pool, or any other body of water for that matter, in January.
And with increased year-long water use, there’s an increased probability for drowning.
Another thing that could explain the disparity between the two states’ drowning rates is how many pools each has relative to their populations.
According to P.K. Data research, there are 5 million inground residential swimming pools in the U.S. More than 40 percent of them are located in two states: California and Florida.
But Florida has substantially more pools per capita.
Cape Analytics, a property information company, reports that there are approximately 1.2 million pools in California, which, accounting for the state’s population, means that there are roughly 3,000 pools per 100,000 Californians. Florida, meanwhile, has 1.4 million pools, and can boast 6,500 pools per 100,000 people. In other words, Florida has a little more than twice as many pools per person.
Taking that into account does a little to help to explain Florida’s consistently higher drowning rate, which, for the last 10 years, has been 2.7 times the drowning rate of California.
May has been named National Drowning Prevention Month in an effort to decrease childhood drownings. Every drowning is a tragedy, but it is gratifying to see that the numbers are going down.
With increased awareness this swim season, we can only hope that the trend will continue.