Bullet U.S. child homicide and suicide rates exceed rates for other industrialized countries

Rates of firearm-related homicides and suicides are high in the U.S.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared the homicide and suicide rates for children under age 15 in the U.S. with the rates for several other industrialized countries. Each country reported data for 1 year between 1990 and 1995; U.S. data were reported for 1993. The number of homicides per 100,000 children under age 15 in the U.S. was five times the number in the other countries combined (2.57 vs. 0.51). The rate of child homicides involving a firearm, however, was 16 times greater in the U.S. than in the other countries combined (0.94 vs. 0.06).

A similar pattern was seen in the suicide rates of children under age 15. Overall, the U.S. suicide rate was twice the rate for the other countries combined (0.55 vs. 0.27). For suicides involving firearms, however, the suicide rate in the U.S. was almost 11 times the rate for the other countries combined (0.32 vs. 0.03).

Table 4

Homicides involving a firearm were about 10% of all homicides among younger children (ages 0–4) in the U.S in 1993. In contrast, about two-thirds of U.S. homicides among older children (5–14) involved a firearm. In other countries, firearm-related homicides were less than one-quarter of all homicides in either age group.

While nonfirearm-related suicide rates were the same among older children in the U.S. and other countries (0.35), firearm-related suicide rates in the U.S. were 10 times greater than those in other countries (0.49 vs. 0.05).

Figure 13

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1999 National Report Series, Juvenile Justice Bulletin:Kids and Guns March 2000