Firearm mortality among children, youth, and young adults 1-34 years of age, trends and current status; United States, 1979-88
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Firearm mortality among children, youth, and young adults 1-34 years of age, trends and current status; United States, 1979-88

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    A previous report of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) emphasized the level of firearm mortality among children and youth. The report showed that in 1987, 11 percent of deaths among children and youth aged 1-19 years resulted from firearm use. In addition, in a recent paper the homicide rate for young males 15-24 years of age in the United States was compared with rates in 21 industrialized countries. Not only was the U.S. homicide rate 4 to 70 times the homicide rates in other countries, but three-fourths of these homicides in the United States were committed with firearms, compared with less than one-fourth in the other countries. Furthermore, the need to reduce the level of violent deaths among teenagers (15-19 year olds) and young adults in the United States is the focus of several of the Year 2000 Objectives for the Nation. Specifically, reductions are targeted for: the homicide rate for all persons, with special targets set for children 3 years of age and under, for black males and females ages 15-34 years and for Hispanic males ages 15–34 years; the suicide rate for all persons, with special targets set for young persons 15-19 years of age, and for males 20-34 years of age; and the weapon-related violent death rate for all persons. Although the previous firearm mortality report was limited to children ages 1-19 years, this report extends the age groups to those 20-34 years of age in order to include those ages where the risk of homicide, and, in particular, of firearm-related homicide, is greatest . In 1988, 77 percent of homicides among teenagers 15-19 years of age were associated with firearm use (88 percent among black males); at 20-24 years of age, 70 percent of homicides resulted from firearm use (81 percent among black males); at 25–29 years of age, 68 percent were firearm related (75 percent among black males); and at 30-34 years of age, 64 percent (70 percent among black males) were caused by firearm use. Suicide rates follow an age pattern different from homicide rate; death rates are fairly constant at ages 20-64 years, and peak for the older population age groups. The age-specific proportions of suicides resulting from firearm use are lower than the proportions of homicides, averaging 53-61 percent of suicides at 10-14 years of age through 30-34 years of age. The purpose of this report is to update and expand the previous report on firearm mortality, focusing on firearm deaths associated with homicide, suicide, and unintentional injury (used synonymously with the term "accident" as defined in the International Classification of Diseases) among children, youth, and young adults ages 1–34years.
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    by Lois A. Fingerhut, Joel C. Kleinman, Elizabeth Godfrey, and Harry Rosenberg

    Includes bibliographical references (p. 5-6).

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