US gun deaths climb 8% in 2021

The firearm homicide rate in 2021 was 8.3 percent higher than in 2020, and the firearm suicide rate among people aged 10 years and older also increased by 8.3 percent during the same time period, according to an Oct. 6 report from the CDC.

An estimated 20,966 firearm homicides and 26,320 firearm suicides occurred in the United States in 2021. From 2020 to 2021, the percentage of homicides related to firearm injuries increased from 79 percent to 81 percent, while suicides attributed to firearms increased from 53 percent to 55 percent. 

The report notes this is the highest percentage increase for homicide in more than 50 years and the highest percentage for suicide since 2001. 

According to an Oct. 6 analysis from U.S. News & World Report, many factors drive the increase in gun violence, including stresses from the pandemic, social isolation, job loss and economic pressures. 

Associate director for science in the Division of Violence Prevention at the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention, Thomas Simon, PhD, said that people must collectively address the underlying conditions contributing to gun violence. 

"There are policies that can help strengthen economic and household stability like housing assistance, childcare subsidies, tax credits, and livable wages. These approaches can help lift families out of poverty and reduce stress and enhance positive outcomes," Dr. Simon said. 

The overall firearm homicide rate in the U.S. is the highest documented since 1993. The firearm suicide rates in 2021 were the highest documented since 1990. Increased gun violence and record-high rates of firearm homicide and suicide in 2021 underscore the urgent need for prevention efforts.

"We know that communities are seeing some promising benefits from violence prevention strategies, and we've learned a lot about what works. The public health approach to violence prevention complements the work of law enforcement, to make the community safer and make their [police's] job easier," Dr. Simon added.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars