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Racial inequities in homicides among women aged 25 to 44 years have persisted since 1999

Between 1999 and 2020, Black women were on average six times more likely to die by homicide than White women in the United States, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in The Lancet.

Bernadine Y. Waller, Ph.D., from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center–New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City, and colleagues used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research system to examine a time series (1999 to 2020) of homicide death rates by race. The analysis included data for women aged 25 to 44 years in 30 states.

The researchers found that in 2020, the homicide rate among Black women was 11.6 per 100,000 versus three per 100,000 among White women. This inequity was persistent and was virtually unchanged since 1999. In every region, firearm homicide deaths were disproportionately concentrated among Black women. In 11 states, racial inequities have increased since 1999. Homicide inequities varied geographically, with the greatest racial inequity seen in Wisconsin, where in 2019 to 2020, Black women were 20 times more likely to die by homicide than White women. Homicide by firearm is increasing in frequency; in 2019 to 2020, U.S. women had 2.44 times the odds of homicide involving firearms versus 1999 to 2003.

“Policy makers must address long-standing structural factors that underpin elevated gun violence by implementing sustainable wealth-building opportunities; developing desegregated, mixed income and affordable housing; and increasing green spaces in communities where Black women largely reside,” the authors write.

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