Firearm mortality among children, youth, and young adults 1-34 years of age, trends and current status; United States, 1985-90
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Firearm mortality among children, youth, and young adults 1-34 years of age, trends and current status; United States, 1985-90

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      A previous report released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) documented the level of firearm mortality among children, youth, and young adults 1–34 years of age from 1979 through 1988. The purpose of this report is to revise the 1985-88 data using newly available intercensal population estimates and to update the report with data through 1990. Emphases are on race and sex differences in homicide and suicide associated with firearms among males 15-34 years of age. This report will be limited to data for the period 1985 through 1990 because it was during the second half of the decade that firearm mortality increased for the younger population. Firearm death rates for 1985-89 are based upon intercensal rather than the postcensal population estimates used in the previous report, Both sets of estimates were provided by the Bureau of the Census. Intercensal population estimates are preferred to postcensal estimates because they are consistent with the 1980 and 1990 decennial Census enumerations, and thus, form a continuous series over the decade. The relative difference between the two estimates, the error of closure, is equivalent to the relative difference in death rates based on the two estimates, The error of closure was larger for persons 18–24 years of age than for any other age group. However, the error of closure was not so large that death rates for either the black or the white populations ages 1–34 were significantly affected. Death rates for 1990 are based on postcensal estimates of the July 1, 1990, population. In previous reports on firearm mortality, the definitions of firearm homicide excluded legal intervention by firearm. In this report, as in others, the definition has been amended to include those deaths. The inclusion of these deaths results in an increase in the overall firearm death rate and the firearm homicide rate with a concomitant decrease in the nonfirearm homicide rate--all by relatively small amounts (see appendix table I). For example, adding in deaths coded to legal intervention by a firearm to other firearm homicides among black and white males 20–24 years of age increased their respective firearm homicide rates by 1 percent and 3 percent. In 1990, 19,722 persons 1-34 years of age died as a result of a firearm injury. This represented 17.6 percent of all deaths at those ages. Among young children 10-14 years of age, 560 died from a firearm injury, accounting for 1 out of every 8 deaths. Among teenagers 15–19 years and young adults 20-24 years, 1 of every 4 deaths were by firearm, and for adults 25-34 years, 1 of 6 deaths were by firearm.
    • Content Notes:
      by Lois A. Fingerhut.

      Includes bibliographical references (p. 6-7).

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