Years off your life? The effects of homicide on life expectancy by neighborhood and race/ethnicity in Los Angeles county

J Urban Health. 2010 Jul;87(4):670-6. doi: 10.1007/s11524-010-9470-4.


Homicide is one of the leading causes of death in Los Angeles County and is known to be elevated in low-income urban neighborhoods and in black males. However, because homicide occurs primarily among young adults, mortality rate statistics may underrepresent its importance. We estimated the impact of homicide on life expectancy by demographic group and geographic area in Los Angeles County, 2001-2006. Life expectancy estimates were calculated using mortality records and population estimates for Los Angeles County. Cause elimination techniques were used to estimate the impact of homicide on life expectancy. Homicide was estimated to reduce life expectancy by 0.4 years for Los Angeles County residents and by 2.1 years for black males. The impact of homicide on life expectancy was higher in low-income neighborhoods. In some low-income urban neighborhoods, homicide was estimated to decrease life expectancy in black males by nearly 5 years. Homicide causes substantial reductions in life expectancy in Los Angeles County. Its impact is magnified among black males and in low-income urban areas, underscoring the need for homicide reduction in urban centers.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Demography
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Homicide / ethnology*
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / ethnology*
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution