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

Katherine K. Christoffel*, Kiang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-345
Number of pages7
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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