Gun Homicides: A Growing Issue for Communities of All Sizes

Oct. 24, 2022

Becky Ofrane

American Communities Project

Firearm-related deaths are a leading cause of premature deaths across the U.S., and the numbers are rising. Compared to other high income countries across the world, gun homicides in the U.S. are over 25 times higher, and gun suicides are over 8 times higher. While these two issues may have some different driving factors, such as historical neighborhood disinvestment, economic stressors, and traumatic events, and therefore may require different solutions, the underlying issue of gun violence in the U.S. is indeed a public health crisis.

To shed light on the toll of gun violence in cities across the country, the City Health Dashboard now features two relevant measures, firearm homicides and firearm suicides. The measures, analyzed and calculated from the National Vital Statistics System by the City Health Dashboard team, provide city leaders and policymakers with data on firearm-related homicide and suicide deaths calculated from death certificates for the first time at this scale. These measures add context, precision, and breadth to already existing city-level data pulled from FBI statistics on firearm homicides.

Here, we explore how trends in gun homicides have changed over time, and how these trends look different in cities of different sizes. While gun violence, especially gun homicide, is often thought of as a big-city problem, our analyses show that the truth is more complicated than that.

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