Homicide death rates in childhood in 23 developed countries: U.S. rates atypically high

Child Abuse Negl. 1983;7(3):339-45. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(83)90012-1.


World Health Organization vital statistics data were used to compare U.S. homicide death rates with those in 23 other developed countries. Using rank ordering and comparison with mean and median rates for the other countries, U.S. homicide rates for the general population were found to be exceptionally high among developed countries. Similarly, U.S. homicide death rates for infants and for 1-4-year-olds were atypically high. The U.S. infant homicide rates were also unusual because of a male predominance. After infancy, high female homicide rates in the U.S. were more unusual than the male rates. The atypically high homicide risk in the U.S. apparently begins in early childhood, affecting particularly male infants and females after infancy. The data and other cited information suggest that features of U.S. society may promote homicide in childhood. The scope and nature of the U.S. childhood homicide problem warrants a focused effort to develop specific preventive approaches.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Abuse
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Homicide*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • United States