Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 3, P327-334, March 2021

Homicide Mortality Inequities in the 30 Biggest Cities in the U.S.

Published:November 18, 2020DOI:


      Homicide is a leading cause of death across the U.S., and it disproportionally affects Blacks in urban areas. This study fills a gap in the literature by examining homicide mortality and Black–White homicide disparities in the 30 biggest U.S. cities and for the entire U.S. across 2 time periods (2008–2012 and 2013–2017).


      Using data from the National Vital Statistics System for 2008–2017, this study calculated age-adjusted homicide mortality rates (per 100,000) for the total, White, and Black populations in the 30 biggest cities, and the U.S. Black-to-White rate ratios were calculated to examine homicide mortality across the time periods. Data were analyzed in 2020.


      A total of 26 cities were included in the final analysis. Results show that U.S. homicides increased slightly but significantly across the time periods (p<0.05). A total of 6 cities saw significant increases in homicides and 5 saw significant decreases. Homicide mortality rates were 1.8 times to >20 times greater for Blacks than for Whites, and these disparities persisted across the time periods for most cities. Only 2 of 26 cities had mortality rates and racial inequities in rates that were lower than the national average.


      Homicide mortality increased slightly across the U.S. and most cities from 2008 to 2017. The majority of cities faced high homicide mortality rates and large inequities. Black–White disparities in homicide remain substantial at the national and city levels. These findings can inform city leaders in their efforts to address the homicide, violence, and racial inequities associated with them through the implementation of policies and programs.
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