National Institute on Aging

Report Examines Racial Differences in Homicide Victimization in the United States

A new report from the Violence Policy Center contains statistics by race on homicide in the United States. Perhaps the most startling figure is that although African Americans make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, they made up 52 percent of all homicide victims in 2019. And in nearly 90 percent of all Black homicide cases, guns were the weapons used to commit the murders. Of these, two thirds of the perpetrators used handguns.

On average, more than 20 Black Americans died each day from homicide in 2019. Of these, 17 were known to have died from gun homicides.

In 2019, the Black homicide victimization rate was 18.08 per 100,000 population. In comparison, for Whites, the national homicide victimization rate was 2.69 per 100,000 people.

In 2019, the homicide victimization rate for Black male victims was 32.49 per 100,000 people. In comparison, the rate for White male homicide victims was 3.88 per 100,000 people.

In addition to national data, the study also ranks the states according to their Black homicide victimization rates. Missouri had the highest Black homicide rate by a large margin. Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin also were among the four states with the highest rates.

The Violence Policy Center is a national nonprofit educational organization founded in 1988 and based in Washington D.C., that conducts research and public education on violence in America and provides information and analysis to policymakers, journalists, advocates, and the general public.

“Black men, women, boys, and girls are the most impacted victims of homicide in our nation, yet year after year this shocking and unacceptable toll is allowed to continue. These deaths almost always involve a gun, and the resulting devastation ravages families, friends, and community members. The goal of our research is to help support advocates and organizations working on the ground to stop this lethal violence while, at the same time, continuing to educate and engage the public and policymakers on the need to address this ongoing national crisis,” stated Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center.

The full report – Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2019 Homicide Data – may be downloaded by clicking here.


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