The homicide rate for youth aged  10 to 24 years in the United States reached a 30-year low in 2010, according to  data published in the Morbidity and  Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released today by the Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention (CDC). The 30-year low in 2010 was seen across all age  and racial/ethnic groups. The report also shows that the promising decline in  youth homicide rates has slowed in recent years, particularly for groups at  high risk for violence.

CDC investigated youth homicide  trends among U.S. youth, ages 10 to 24, by sex, age, race/ethnicity, and  mechanism of injury from 1981 to 2010 using data available through CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics  Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Youth  homicide rates varied substantially over this period with a sharp rise from  1985 to 1993 followed by a decline that has slowed since 1999. Even with the slower downward trend in recent years, the youth homicide rate in 2010 was 7.5  per 100,000, the lowest in the 30–year period examined.

The findings show declines in  youth homicide rates from 2000 to 2010 have been slower for groups at high risk  for homicide, including males and non-Hispanic black youth. Recent declines have  also been slower for firearm homicides than for homicides by other means. These  findings indicate the need for increased use of youth violence prevention  strategies, especially approaches that engage high-risk youth.

“We are encouraged to see a decline  in the homicide rate among our youth but unfortunately, homicide continues to  rank in the top three leading causes of death for our young people,” said Linda C.  Degutis, Dr.P.H., M.S.N., director, CDC’s National Center for Injury  Prevention and Control. “Our youth represent our future and one homicide is one  too many.  Comprehensive approaches that include evidence-based prevention  strategies are essential to eliminate homicide as a leading cause of death of  young people.”

Key findings in this report include:

  • In 2010, 4,828 homicides occurred among youth ages  10 to 24 years in the U.S.

In 2010, youth homicide resulted in  an estimated $9 billion in lost productivity and medical costs.

  • From 1985 to 1993, the overall youth homicide  rate rose 83 percent (from 8.7 per 100,000 in 1985 to 15.9 in 1993).
    • From 1994 to 1999, the overall youth homicide  rate declined 41 percent (from 15.2 per 100,000 in 1994 to 8.9 in 1999).
    • From 2000 to 2010, the overall youth homicide  rate  declined on average by about 1  percent per year.
  • In 2010, the youth homicide rate was 12.7 per  100,000 for males, 13.2 for youth ages 20 to 24 years, and 28.8 for  non-Hispanic black youth.
  • The annual rate of firearm homicide among youth ages  10 to 24 years was 3.7 times the annual rate of non-firearm homicides during  the examined 30 year period.

As noted in the report, public  health can support community-wide and sustained reductions in youth violence. Strategies  that have been evaluated and are successful include school-based programs that  build students’ communications skills to solve problems in non-violent ways.  Family approaches that help parents and caregivers set age-appropriate rules  and effectively monitor activities and relationships are also effective. Furthermore, economic, policy, environmental, and other community approaches  can enhance safety and increase opportunities for positive social interaction.

For the full report and the study  details, please visit

CDC’s Injury Center works to  prevent violence, injuries, suicide, and their adverse health consequences. For  more information about youth violence prevention activities and research, please  visit


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