Predictors of firearm violence in urban communities: A machine-learning approach

Health Place. 2018 May:51:61-67. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.02.013. Epub 2018 Mar 14.


Interpersonal firearm violence is a leading cause of death and injuries in the United States. Identifying community characteristics associated with firearm violence is important to improve confounder selection and control in health research, to better understand community-level factors that are associated with firearm violence, and to enhance community surveillance and control of firearm violence. The objective of this research was to use machine learning to identify an optimal set of predictors for urban interpersonal firearm violence rates using a broad set of community characteristics. The final list of 18 predictive covariates explain 77.8% of the variance in firearm violence rates, and are publicly available, facilitating their inclusion in analyses relating violence and health. This list includes the black isolation and segregation indices, rates of educational attainment, marital status, indicators of wealth and poverty, longitude, latitude, and temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Cause of Death
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning*
  • Male
  • Poverty Areas
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States
  • Urban Population*
  • Violence*