Study: Homicide Is Leading Cause of Kids, Teens Deaths in US

A new study reveals that child homicide rates in the US are increasing, with boys being the most impacted.

Research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that 38,362 US children became victims of homicide from 1999 to 2020. Of those, 69.4% were males.

On average, homicides increased by 4.3% annually from 2013 to 2020, with the most significant rise from 2019 to 2020. During that period, homicides increased by 27.7%, while firearm-related homicides of children rose by 47.7%.

There were significant increases among certain demographic groups, such as boys (16.1% between 2018 and 2020), and Black children (16.6% from 2018 to 2022).

According to the study, the most common cause of homicides of children 10 years and younger was abuse and neglect by their parents or caregivers.

Meanwhile, most homicides of teenagers aged 11 to 17 were caused by crime and arguments and perpetrated by someone they knew, especially friends and acquaintances.

“More targeted strategies are needed to (1) protect 6- to 10-year-olds, 11- to 17-year-olds, and children in certain geographic areas and (2) urgently address firearm violence, racism, and inequities at the root of youth violence,” the study authors conclude.

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