(HealthDay News) — The overall firearm homicide rate in the United States increased from 2019 to 2020, according to research published in the May 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Scott R. Kegler, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues integrated national vital statistics and population data with urbanization and poverty measures at the county level. The changes in population-based firearm homicide and suicide rates were examined in 2020, coinciding with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers found that the overall firearm homicide rate increased from 4.6 to 6.1 per 100,000 persons from 2019 to 2020. Non-Hispanic Black or African American males aged 10 to 44 years and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) males aged 25 to 44 years had the largest increases. The lowest rates of firearm homicide and smallest increases were seen at the lowest poverty levels, while higher rates and larger increases were seen at higher poverty levels. From 2019 to 2020, the overall firearm suicide rate remained relatively unchanged (7.9 to 8.1 per 100,000 persons); however, rates increased in some populations, including AI/AN males aged 10 to 44 years.
“The increases in firearm homicide rates and persistently high firearm suicide rates in 2020, with increases among populations that were already at high risk, have widened disparities and heightened the urgency of actions that can have immediate and lasting benefits,” the authors write.