Stark racial disparities in murder rates persist, even as overall murder rate declines
Homicide rates for Black men, Black women and Native women are consistently higher than for other racial and ethnic groups.
by Emily Widra, May 3, 2018
I wanted to compare homicide victimization across racial, ethnic, and gender groups over time, since this data is deceptively difficult to find in one place.
In the process, I found that the murder rate for Black men is consistently higher than the murder rate for men of all other racial and ethnic groups has ever been:
Controlling for gender reveals more complexity. For example, the rate of homicide of Native women is higher than the rate of homicide for Hispanic and Latina women, whereas the opposite is true for their male counterparts:
Overall murder rates have been declining since 1980 – when the total rate for murder and non-negligent manslaughter was 10.2 per 100,000 people – but violent crime is still a favorite talking point among lawmakers and newspeople.
What’s important is to change how we talk about it. White victims tend to get close attention, while the murder of people of color is callously left unexplored. We can and should be investigating why communities of color suffer disproportionately high rates of violent crime, as these rates belie a lot of geographic and economic complexity. (To dig deeper, see Krivo and Peterson’s study controlling for neighborhood disadvantage, as well as the Violence Policy Center’s recent study of black homicide victimization.)