Geographic Disparities in Rising Rates of Firearm-Related Homicide

Published in: The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 387, No. 2, pages 189–191 (2022). doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2203322

Posted on RAND.org on July 19, 2022

by Rosanna Smart, Terry L. Schell, Andrew R. Morral, Nancy Nicosia

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After two decades of decreasing rates, the rate of homicides in the United States began increasing in 2014. The increase has been driven entirely by a rise in firearm-related homicides, which diverged from the trend in non–firearm-related homicide in the late 2000s, starkly separated from it in 2014, and reached a rate of 4.4 deaths per 100,000 population in 2019. In 2019, firearm use accounted for three of every four homicides, the highest ratio since systematic data on homicide mechanisms became available. Although increasing rates of firearm-related homicides have garnered attention from researchers and the media, limited research has evaluated the extent to which this increase is a national phenomenon or is concentrated among geographic areas or demographic groups.

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