New Study Shows Youth Homicide Skyrocketed in 2020

New Study Shows Youth Homicide Skyrocketed in 2020

( – Death is the only thing in life that’s certain. And when many consider this fate it is often imagined to be after a long fulfilling life. But the unfortunate truth is that death has become increasingly more common among America’s youth, ages 0-17. Evidence of the disturbing trend comes in the form of a recent study that dates back to 1999.

A Lasting Trend

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that from 1999 to 2020, 38,362 youths have died by homicide, making it the leading cause of death in people under the age of 18. The study cross referenced data from the National Violent Death Reporting System in 45 states from 2003 until 2019 and the National Vital Statistics System, which covered the over 38,000 youth homicides.

Unfortunately, death by murder among America’s youth has been on the upswing since 2013, with an average annual increase of 4.3%. The study found that a majority of the homicides in children under 10 years old were the result of neglect or abuse from caregivers, parents, or guardians and typically involved physical beatings or the use of blunt or sharp objects. In children 11-17, most murders came at the hands of an acquaintance or someone they considered to be a friend.

Rebecca Wilson, a behavioral scientist at the CDC, told in an interview that firearms were the most prevalently used weapons in child homicides. She asserted that these murders are entirely preventable, declaring the need for more targeted strategies to protect America’s children.

Dr. Wilson noted the sudden spike in homicides between the ages of 11 and 17 brings a sense of urgency to addressing the underlying issues, such as firearms, violence, and racism, that lead to them.

A Shocking Surge

While the number of untimely deaths among youths has steadily increased over the years, there was an especially disturbing spike from 2019 to 2020. During that time, there was an overall increase in these instances of 27.7%, amounting to 2.8 homicides per 100,000 kids. It especially impacted youth boys, with an overall jump of 16.1% from 2018 to 2020, translating to 4.1 per 100,000. The rate of homicides among youth girls actually decreased by 1.4% from 1999’s 1.9 per 100,000 to 1.5 per 100,000 in 2020.

JAMA noted the decreases in some areas and demographics of youth homicides is encouraging. However, there were still increases in others. JAMA mentioned there are ethnic and racial disparities in the data, even after more than two decades.

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