Study Finds Firearm Deaths Among Black Rural Youth Have Quadrupled Over the Past Decade

A new study from the University of Minnesota has found a significant increase in firearm-related deaths among rural Black youth over the past 10 years.

For their study, the research team examined youth mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1999 to 2022. They found that over this time period, firearm related deaths among all youth rose by 35 percent, with an even greater increase among Black children and teenagers. Historically, firearm deaths were more likely to occur in urban settings, but as of 2018, Black rural youth are just as likely to die by firearms as Black urban youth.

A particularly sharp increase in firearm deaths among Black rural youth began in 2013, with firearm mortality for this group quadrupling over the past 10 years. A decade ago, Black and White rural youth experienced firearm mortality at similar rates. In 2022, the rate of firearm deaths among Black rural youth was four times that of White rural youth. According to the study, Black youth represent only 10 percent of the rural youth population, yet account for 30 percent of firearm deaths among rural children.

The authors believe their findings point towards an urgent need for public health policymakers to investigate this issue further, gain a better understanding of the causes leading to this phenomenon, and take action to prevent firearm deaths among Black rural youth.

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