Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 32 States, 2016
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Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 32 States, 2016

Filetype[PDF-925.61 KB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      MMWR Surveill Summ
    • Description:

      In 2016, approximately 65,000 persons died in the U.S. as a result of violence-related injuries. This report summarizes data from CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) regarding violent deaths from 32 U.S. states for 2016. Results are reported by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, type of location where injured, method of injury, circumstances of injury, and other selected characteristics.

      Period Covered


      Description of System

      NVDRS collects data regarding violent deaths obtained from death Certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and secondary sources (e.g., child fatality review team data, Suppl.ementary Homicide Reports, hospital data, and crime laboratory data). This report includes data collected from 32 states for 2016 (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin). NVDRS collates information for each death and links deaths that are related (e.g., multiple homicides, homicide followed by suicide, or multiple suicides) into a single incident.


      For 2016, NVDRS captured 40,374 fatal incidents involving 41,466 deaths in the 32 states included in this report. The majority (62.3%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides (24.9%), deaths of undetermined intent (10.8%), legal intervention deaths (1.2%) (i.e., deaths caused by law enforcement and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force acting in the line of duty, excluding legal executions), and unintentional firearm deaths (<1.0%). (The term legal intervention is a classification incorporated into the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] and does not denote the lawfulness or legality of the circumstances surrounding a death caused by law enforcement.) Demographic patterns varied by manner of death. Suicide rates were highest among males, non-Hispanic American Indians/Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic whites, adults aged 45–64 years, and men aged ≥75 years. The most common method of injury was a firearm among males and Poisoning among females. Suicides were most often preceded by a mental health, intimate partner, substance abuse, or physical health problem or a recent or impending crisis during the previous or upcoming 2 weeks. Homicide rates were highest among males and persons aged <1 year and 15–44 years. Among males, non-Hispanic blacks accounted for most homicides and had the highest rate of any racial/ethnic group. The most common method of injury was a firearm. Homicides were most often precipitated by an argument or conflict, occurred in conjunction with another crime, or for females, were related to intimate partner violence. When the relationship between a homicide victim and a suspected perpetrator was known, the suspect was most frequently an acquaintance/friend among males and a current or former intimate partner among females. Legal intervention death rates were highest among men aged 20–44 years, and the rate among non-Hispanic black males was three times the rate among non-Hispanic white males. Precipitating circumstances for legal intervention deaths most frequently were an alleged criminal activity in progress, reported use of a weapon by the victim in the incident, a mental health or substance abuse problem (other than alcohol abuse), an argument or conflict, or a recent or impending crisis. Unintentional firearm deaths were more frequent among males, non-Hispanic whites, and persons aged 15–24 years. These deaths most often occurred while the shooter was playing with a firearm and most often were precipitated by a person unintentionally pulling the trigger or mistakenly thinking the firearm was unloaded. Rates of deaths of undetermined intent were highest among males, particularly non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native males, and adults aged 25–64 years. Substance abuse, mental health problems, physical health problems, and a recent or impending crisis were the most common circumstances preceding deaths of undetermined intent. In 2016, a total of 3,655 youths aged 10–24 years died by suicide. The majority of these decedents were male, non-Hispanic white, and aged 18–24 years. Most decedents aged 10–17 years died by hanging/strangulation/suffocation (49.3%), followed by a firearm (40.4%), and suicides among this age group were most often precipitated by mental health, family relationship, and school problems. Most suicides among decedents aged 18–24 years were by a firearm (46.2%), followed by hanging/strangulation/suffocation (37.4%), and were precipitated by mental health, substance abuse, intimate partner, and family problems. A recent crisis, an argument or conflict, or both were common precipitating circumstances among all youth suicide decedents.


      This report provides a detailed summary of data from NVDRS for 2016. Suicides rates were highest among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and white males, whereas homicide rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males. Mental health problems, intimate partner problems, interpersonal conflicts, and acute life stressors were primary precipitating events for multiple types of violent deaths, including suicides among youths aged 10–24 years.

      Public Health Action

      NVDRS data are used to monitor the occurrence of violence-related fatal injuries and assist public health authorities in the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies to reduce and prevent violent deaths. For example, Utah VDRS data were used to help identify suicide risk factors among youths aged 10–17 years, Rhode Island VDRS suicide data were analyzed to identify precipitating circumstances of youth suicides over a 10-year period, and Kansas VDRS data were used by the Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force In 2019, NVDRS expanded data collection to include all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. This expansion is essential to public health efforts to reduce violent deaths.

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