Study Finds Link Between Residential Racial Segregation and Firearm Homicide Rates

A new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health finds that states with a higher degree of residential racial segregation have higher racial disparities in homicide rates by firearms. Earlier studies have shown a link between residential racial segregation and other public health concerns such as  high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. But this new study shows that homicide by firearm is another public health concern that is related to residential racial segregation.

Researchers examined homicide rate date from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the period 1991 to 2015. They compared this data with Census information on the racial makeup of neighborhoods.

Anita Knopov, a graduate student at Boston University and the lead author of the study, noted that the research found that “a Black person living in Wisconsin has a 22-fold higher risk of being fatally shot compared to a White person, but in New Mexico a Black person has a 2-fold higher risk of being fatally shot compared to a White person.”

Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University and a co-author of the study, added that “racial residential segregation is independently linked with the racial disparity in firearm homicides, even when other racial inequalities are accounted for, including unemployment, poverty, income, wealth, and single-parent families.”

The full study, “The Role of Racial Residential Segregation in Black-White Disparities in Firearm Homicide at the State Level in the United States, 1991-2015,” was published in the Journal of the National Medical Association. It may be accessed here.

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