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Missouri leads nation in black homicide rate, study finds

Missouri leads nation in black homicide rate, study finds


Missouri surpasses every other state in the homicide rate of black people, according to an analysis by the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control.

While the national murder rate of black men and women sits at 18.68 per 100,000 people, according to the analysis, the Missouri homicide rate of blacks reached 46.24 per 100,000. The analysis is based on FBI figures from 2015.

Wisconsin ranked second, at a rate of 36.77 per 100,000.

Nationwide in 2015, 7,014 homicide victims were black, the center says. (Currently, Uniform Crime Reporting records show 7,039 homicide victims were black on the FBI website.) Of those, 332 victims were killed in Missouri, according to the Violence Policy Center.

Black men and women are killed at significantly higher rates than the general population. The homicide rate for the general population in 2015 was 4.62 per 100,000 people, and for white persons in the same time period the rate was 2.67 per 100,000, according to the center. 

Black men face particular risk — 88 percent of black homicide victims in the analysis were male. Black men are killed at a rate of 34.21 per 100,000, compared to 7.52 per 100,000 for the general male population, and 3.9 per 100,000 for white men.

Black women were also murdered at a higher rate than the national average — 4.41 per 100,000, compared to 1.79 per 100,000 for the general population and 1.45 per 100,000 for white women.

The average age of black homicide victims nationwide is 31, but the average age of black victims in Missouri is 29.

Most black victims were killed with guns, according to the policy center, and of those victims whose relationship to the killer could be identified, most black victims knew their killers.

"Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll, like America’s homicide toll as a whole, must put a focus on reducing access and exposure to firearms," the analysis concludes.

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