The effect of firearm deaths on life expectancy and insurance premiums in the United States

LDI Issue Brief. Oct-Nov 2005;11(2):1-4.


Despite recent gains, the U.S. remains behind most other affluent countries in life expectancy. Even within the U.S., the gap between the life expectancies of Caucasians and African-Americans remains significant. At the same time, firearm deaths in the U.S. far exceed peer nations, and disproportionately affect African-American males. In this Issue Brief, Dr. Lemaire explores whether deaths from firearms explain some of these international and racial disparities in life expectancy. He uses actuarial techniques to calculate the "cost" of firearm deaths in the U.S., both in terms of reduced life expectancy and increased life insurance premiums.

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Firearms* / statistics & numerical data
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Life / economics*
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Violence / economics
  • Wounds, Gunshot* / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot* / mortality