Apr 10, 2023 - Health

Gun deaths among children are soaring

Gun deaths among U.S. kids and teens under 18
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of U.S. kids dying by gunfire keeps rising.

Stunning stat: Gun deaths among America’s kids rose 50% in the last two years, according to a new Pew Research Center report. More children and teens were killed by guns in 2021 than in any year since 1999, the first year the CDC began tracking the data.

What's happening: While the majority of adult gun deaths are by suicide, children and teens killed by gunfire are more likely to die by homicide (60%).

  • And 2022 marked the most violent year in schools — with 46 shootings — since 1999, The Washington Post reports. The most recent shooting took four lives at the Covenant School in Nashville two weeks ago.

Zoom out: The rise in child and teen firearm deaths mirrors the overall increase in gun deaths in America, Pew notes.

  • There were 48,830 gun deaths among Americans in 2021. That was up 23% from 2019 and the highest yearly total on record.

The big picture: America's life expectancy has been falling in recent years, from 79 in 2019 to 76 in 2021, driven by the pandemic, the rise of gun violence and drug overdoses.

  • Compare that to the life expectancy of 83 in Australia and 80 in Britain.

But older adults in America have similar life expectancies to their counterparts in other wealthy countries, per the Financial Times.

  • The high number of young deaths in the U.S. is bringing the country's overall life expectancy down.

Consider this: One in 25 American kindergartners won't make it to their 40th birthday.

What to watch: The data is alarming American parents from coast to coast. 45% of U.S. parents said they were somewhat or extremely worried about their kids getting shot, according to another recent Pew survey.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show 45% of U.S. parents said they were somewhat or extremely worried about their kids getting shot, according to a recent Pew survey, not 55%.

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