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Demographic Disparities Seen in Firearm Fatality Rates

Maximum rates of firearm homicides higher among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic versus White men

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — There are demographic disparities in firearm fatality rates, which have increased over time, according to a study published online Nov. 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Chris A. Rees, M.D., M.P.H., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues examined variations in rates of firearm fatalities in the United States from 1990 to 2021 in a cross-sectional study.

From 1990 to 2021, there were 1,110,421 firearm fatalities (85.8 and 14.2 percent among males and females, respectively; 25.8, 10.4, and 60.5 percent among non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White individuals, respectively). The researchers observed a decrease in all-intents total firearm fatality rates per 100,000 persons to 10.1 fatalities in 2004, followed by an increase to 14.7 fatalities by 2021 (45.5 percent increase). Male and female firearm homicide rates increased 84.7 and 87.0 percent, respectively, from 2014 to 2021. By 2021, the maximum rates of firearm homicides were up to 22.5 times higher among non-Hispanic Black men and up to 3.6 times higher among Hispanic men compared with non-Hispanic White men (up to 141.8 and 22.8 fatalities/100,000 persons, respectively, versus 6.3 fatalities/100,000 persons). The highest firearm suicide rates were seen for non-Hispanic White men aged 80 to 84 years (up to 46.8 fatalities/100,000 in 2021). Males had higher rates of suicides and homicides than females.

“Our findings suggest that public health approaches to prevent firearm violence must consider underlying demographic trends and differences by intent to reduce disparities and fatalities,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed receiving editor royalties from Springer Nature.

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