Feb 23, 2024 - Health

Gun deaths surged among kids of color during the pandemic

Illustration of gun barrels getting longer forming an upward trending bar chart.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The rates of firearm deaths among Black and Hispanic youth have surged since the start of the pandemic, a new KFF analysis of federal data shows.

The big picture: Guns became the leading killer of children during the pandemic, with disproportionate impacts on communities of color.

Zoom in: The rate of firearm deaths among Black children doubled from 6 per 100,000 to 12.2 per 100,000 between 2018 and 2022, and is now six times the rate of that for white children, according to KFF's analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

  • Black children made up 14% of the country's youth population but nearly half of all firearm deaths among kids in 2022, KFF said.
  • Firearm death rates grew 73% among Hispanic kids, from 1.5 deaths per 100,000 to 2.6 per 100,000, while rates among American Indian and Alaska Native kids remained the second highest among racial and ethnic groups in the CDC data.
  • The firearm death rate among white kids remained relatively constant at about 2 per 100,000, while it dropped about a third among Asian kids to 0.7 per 100,000.

Gun assaults drove an overall increase in firearm deaths among U.S. children, while firearm suicides also increased.

  • Seven kids per day were killed by guns in 2022. Many more survive gun violence or are closely connected to it, which can lead to lasting health consequences.
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