Homicide is one of the leading causes of child death in the United States, according to a new study, and the overall rate has increased an average of 4.3% each year for nearly a decade.
Black children died from this cause more than any other group, and firearms were the most common weapon used in child deaths, according to the study, published Monday in the academic journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Between 1999 and 2020, 38,362 American children were victims of homicide, the researchers found.
The overall homicide rate saw an especially “precipitous” increase from 2019 to 2020, with rates rising in various demographic groups, the study says. In that period alone, the number of minors who died in a homicide increased by 27.7%.
The sharp increase may be driven in part by the overall trend in firearm-related juvenile homicides, which increased 47.7% between 2019 and 2020, the study says.
Overall homicide rates increased the most for boys, with an increase of 16.1% between 2018 and 2020. However, there was a decrease in homicides among girls between 1999 and 2020.