Firearm Homicide Demographics Before and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

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In 2020, the US experienced the largest 1-year increase in homicide since 1960. The spike began in the first few months of the year, accelerating during the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency measures, the murder of George Floyd, and social protests.

Three additional observations are relevant. First, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the homicide increase in 2020 was due to firearm injuries. While the overall homicide rate increased 28.4%, the firearm homicide rate increased 34.6%. Second, the spike in violence was concentrated within certain demographic groups. CDC researchers found 19 384 victims of firearms homicide in 2020. Of those victims, 61% were Black individuals, and they experienced firearm homicide at 14 times the rate of White individuals in 2020. This racial disparity does not exist for other types of violence. Third, the largest increases in death by firearm homicide were for Black men aged between 10 and 44 years old.

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