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MMWR Suppl. 2013 Nov 22;62(3):164-70.

Homicides - United States, 2007 and 2009.


According to 1981-2009 data, homicide accounts for 16,000-26,000 deaths annually in the United States and ranks within the top four leading causes of death among U.S. residents aged 1-40 years. Homicide can have profound long-term emotional consequences on families and friends of victims and on witnesses to the violence, as well as cause excessive economic costs to residents of affected communities. For years, homicide rates have been substantially higher among certain populations. Previous reports have found that homicides are higher among males, adolescents and young adults, and certain racial/ethnic groups, such as non-Hispanic blacks, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), and Hispanics. The 2011 CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report (CHDIR) described similar findings for the year 2007. For example, the 2011 report showed that the 2007 homicide rate was highest among non-Hispanic blacks (23.1 deaths per 100,000), followed by AI/ANs (7.8 deaths per 100,000), Hispanics (7.6 deaths per 100,000), non-Hispanic whites (2.7 deaths per 100,000), and Asian/Pacific Islanders (A/PIs) (2.4 deaths per 100,000). In addition, non-Hispanic black men aged 20-24 years were at greatest risk for homicide in 2007, with a rate that exceeded 100 deaths per 100,000 population. Other studies have reported that community factors such as poverty and economic inequality and individual factors such as unemployment and involvement in criminal activities can play a substantial role in these persistent disparities in homicide rates. Public health strategies are needed in communities at high risk for homicide to prevent violence and save lives.

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