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Cross-sectional Study of Loss of Life Expectancy at Different Ages Related to Firearm Deaths Among Black And White Americans

NCJ Number
BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Volume: 24 Dated: 2019 Pages: 55-58
Date Published
4 pages
This study examined the national and race-specific life expectancy loss due to firearm-related deaths in the United States, and it also assessed race-specific life expectancy loss due to firearm assaults and suicides among White and Black Americans at various ages.

The study used national mortality data related to firearm injury during a 15-year period (2000-2016). These data were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER). In determining the disparities by race and intent, the study obtained counts of deaths by firearm in 5-year age groups within each race and intent subgroup. There was no differentiation by sex, since only 10 percent of firearm deaths involve women. The population counts were also obtained from the CDC-WONDER for national and sub-groups by race. National estimates were used for intent. Age-adjusted rates were calculated by using national population estimates from 2000 in the 19 age groups, each of which was in 5-year intervals. Overall, the study found substantial life-expectancy loss to gun violence in the United States since the turn of the 21st century. Life expectancy loss usually declined slowly with age. A sudden drop occurred at age 20 among Black Americans for assaults and among White Americans for suicides. The overall life expectancy loss is twice as high among Blacks compared to Whites and is driven by substantially higher homicide rates among Blacks up to age 20. The life expectancy loss due to suicide among Whites over age 20 was greater than Blacks. The authors believe this is the only contemporary report that quantifies life expectancy loss at different ages due to assault and suicide firearm deaths among Black and White Americans. 1 figure, 1 table, and 14 references

Date Published: January 1, 2019