Gun homicide rate map of America


Originally published at:


That’s an interesting map comparison… Thanks Rob!


In the Reddit thread, somebody pointed out that the numbers include suicides which account for 65% of the deaths. So even if you take that out, Idaho is still worse off than the urban populations you mentioned. Very interesting.


Don’t forget that gun homicides are just one part of the picture! There are also plenty of accidental gun deaths and non-lethal gunshot injuries (intentional or otherwise). It would be great to see a map that also shows these other aspects of the gun problem in the U.S.


Interesting that there are a number of more northern rural states, ones that I think of as having substantial tracts of wilderness, have high gun ownership but lower gun death rates. Goodness knows we own guns in Canada, but usually use them for shooting critters. I’m guessing that’s the case in places like Wyoming and Montana… (Heck, up north, you see guns on aeroplanes all the time.)


Now I’m interested in seeing a map that shows the ratio of gun ownership to homicide rates.

Also, it’d be nice to have a map that shows the ownership rates by counties, so you could see the differences, if any, between urban and rural areas.


Maybe they just haven’t yet found all the bodies buried deep in that wilderness…


It already controlled for suicide, linked later in the post:

And that particular number excludes about half the gun deaths in America


Yes, that’s the case. The USA is not monolithic. I lived in rural New England for many years, but grew up in urban California. The mentality re guns is totally different in a rural vs urban place. Plus, generally, I am willing to bet that there are differences in how urban vs rural people deal with stress, frustration and mental illness. Not saying necessarily better, but differently.


I would be interested to see “gun ownership” further broken down by type of firearm. Most gun homicides don’t involve bolt-action hunting rifles, for example.


That data exists. I saw it during one of the discussions last year on this topic. Damned if I can find it though. But I’ve seen it.


Yeah, handguns are the primary for gun deaths of any kind - and they are by far the largest group of unregistered firearms.

It also doesn’t look like this chart accounts for the number of guns owned by a single person. Even a light hobbyist in a poor area is likely to own a selection of guns.


This is the map when including all firearm-related causes except for war-related deaths:
Edit: The numbers represent deaths per 100,000 residents per year in average from 1996 to 2017.


I’d like to see this. I suspect a great many of the guns owned in the midwest are hunting rifles. If the numbers showed just handgun ownership, what would we see?

I’d also like to see some data on non-registered gun ownership. Which states have a large number of illegal firearms bought off the street? I bet that would also be pretty informative.


Not exactly what you asked for, but it does break down homicide rates by county.

Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates. One should not put much weight on this purely “cross-sectional” evidence over one point in time and many factors determine murder rates, but it is still interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high gun ownership rates and zero murders.


I notice gun homicide rates are quite low in those states where people do not live close together.


Those long distance shots are a lot harder to make.

In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders. 69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.

The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders.


There’s a lot of noise in that comparison, in that it mixes together the ownership rates of different gun types. States like Idaho, Montana, and Minnesota which nonetheless have low homicide rates are largely accounted for by the fact that there a lot of people own single-shot hunting rifles for the very practical reason that hunting plays a serious part in their grocery budget [1].

I suspect that the same map, restricted to pistols, would be more enlightening if still imperfect. I can’t offhand think of a good way to separate out the high rate of fire rifles and carbines that are really only worth their cost for ego stroking and mass murder.

[1] E.g. my son in law, who unlocks the gun safe twice a year: for range time prior to elk season and to bring home most of the red meat the family eats until June or so.


Isn’t the CDC banned from assembling those stats?


No, they are banned from using those stats to push an agenda. That is what the law states.