Gun-related deaths rose 35 percent in the first year of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seeing the highest recorded rates since 1994. The organization’s Vital Signs Report found that 79 percent of all homicides in 2020 involved firearms.
As our chart shows, 6.1 out of 100,000 Americans were killed nationwide in gun-related homicides in 2020, up from 4.6 the year before. The data underscores socio-economic divides, with some of the poorest counties seeing up to 4.5 times more homicides than areas with the least amount of poverty. Black Americans were disproportionately at risk, with Black men and boys aged 10 to 24 being 21 times more likely to be fatally shot than white males the same age.
Meanwhile, gun-related suicides remained high in 2020, with a recorded 8.1 deaths per 100,000 people. While suicide rates are still highest among white men, the largest increase in firearm-related suicides was among American Indian and Alaska Native people, showing a 42 percent rise from the year before.