U.S. Homicide & Suicide Rates in Whites & Blacks

U.S. Homicide & Suicide Rates in Whites & Blacks
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The CDC released data this week in regard to (age-adjusted) homicide and suicide rates among white and black U.S. residents. (See graph.)

The CDC explained in an e-mail that, for the purposes of this analysis, "white" includes both Hispanic white and non-Hispanic white, and "black" includes both Hispanic black and non-Hispanic black. Asians and Native Americans were excluded from the analysis.

In 2010, the homicide- or suicide-specific mortality rate for each race (per 100,000 individuals) was:

Whites (homicide): 3.3
Whites (suicide): 13.6
Blacks (homicide): 17.7
Blacks (suicide): 5.2

There are seven points worth noting:

(1) Whites are more than 4 times as likely to die from suicide as homicide.
(2) Blacks are nearly 3.5 times as likely to die from homicide as suicide.
(3) Whites are more than 2.5 times as likely to die from suicide as blacks.
(4) Blacks are more than 5 times as likely to die from homicide as whites.
(5) The data give no indication about race-on-race crimes (i.e., black-on-black, white-on-white, white-on-black, black-on-white).
(6) The suicide rate is notably increasing for whites.
(7) The homicide rate is notably decreasing for blacks.

Data on race is always a very sensitive issue in America, but understanding the specific problems which differentially affect various communities is important for public health policy.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "QuickStats: Annual Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Suicide and Homicide, by Black or White Race — United States, 1999–2010." MMWR 62 (13): 257.

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