U.S. Homicide Assault Death Statistics

Homicide Assault Deaths Mortality
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Homicide is the intentional killing of another person. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, in 2017, about 19,500 Americans died from homicidal assaults—a rate of about 6 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Murder is an unlawful homicide—but not all homicides are crimes. For example, homicides committed in the course of law enforcement or in cases of self-defense are often not treated as crimes. The data in this article excludes deaths by non-criminal homicides. It focuses on homicide deaths by criminal assault.

Homicide Rate Trends in the U.S.

How do homicide rates differ between states?

Since there is little variation in the national trend, geographical differences in homicide rates are more noteworthy. As the map below shows, there is significant variation between states. 

A number of states had no data to report—the CDC suppresses death data for locations with fewer than 10 deaths, to protect individuals' privacy; it also lists death rates with low numerators (less than 20 deaths) as unreliable. 

Note: to see data for different years, use the time-slider beneath the map.

How do homicide rates differ by demographics?

By Sex

Nationally, men die at higher rates from homicide than women. National level data from 2017 shows 9.8 men per 100,000 died from homicides while only 2.5 women per 100,000 died from homicides. The chart below shows the rate of women and men who died from homicide in [county:undefined] compared to state and national levels.

According to an NIH study, some factors that merit consideration for this disparity include lifestyle and behavioral risks as well as masculine socialization. 

By Race

In 2017, on the national level 21.4 African Americans per 100,000 died from homicides, ranking the highest among all races. For American Indians and Alaskan Natives 6.3 per 100,000 died from homicides. Whites are the third highest where 3.6 per 100,000 died from homicides. Lastly, Asians or Pacific Islanders rank the lowest with 1.7 per 100,000 died from homicides.

By Age

Nationally, 15-24 and 25-35 year olds had the highest rate of deaths by homicide in 2017, at around 12 per 100,000. For the most part, young children and older Americans had the lowest homicide rates—with the exception of infants (1 year and younger) who experienced a relatively high homicide rate: roughly 8 deaths per 100,000.  

About the Data

Mortality data in this story was queried from the CDC Wonder API, based on the following parameters:

• Underlying Cause of Death, ICD-10 codes: X85-Y09, Y87.1.

The charts show the CDC's age-adjusted rate, rather than crude rate, to account for variations in age-distribution and population size—with the exception of the chart comparing rates by age group.