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Contents of Homicide trends in the U.S.

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Homicide trends in the U.S.
Trends by race

Racial differences exist, with blacks disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders

In 2004, homicide victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites.

To view data, click on the chart.

Homicide Victimization by Race[D]

For more information about racial patterns in violent victimization
see Key Facts at a Glance.

In 2004, offending rates for blacks were 7 times higher than the rates for whites

To view data, click on the chart.

Homicide Offending by Race [D]

The race distribution of homicide victims and offenders differs by type of homicide

For the years 1976-2004 combined -

  • Black victims are greatly over represented in homicides involving drugs. Compared with the overall involvement of blacks as victims, blacks are less often the victims of sex-related homicides, workplace killings, and homicide by poison.

  • Race patterns among offenders are similar to those among victims.
Homicide Type by Race, 1976-2004

Victims   Offenders
White Black Other   White Black Other
All homicides 51.0% 46.9% 2.1%   45.9% 52.1% 2.0%
Victim/offender relationship              
Intimate 56.5% 41.3% 2.2%   54.3% 43.6% 2.2%
Family 60.6% 37.1% 2.4%   59.1% 38.6% 2.3%
Infanticide 55.8% 41.6% 2.5%   55.3% 42.2% 2.5%
Eldercide 69.1% 29.3% 1.6%   54.4% 44.0% 1.6%
Circumstances              
Felony murder 54.8% 42.7% 2.5%   39.1% 59.3% 1.6%
Sex related 67.0% 30.6% 2.4%   54.9% 43.3% 1.9%
Drug related 37.2% 61.9% .9%   33.8% 65.1% 1.1%
Gang related 57.6% 39.0% 3.5%   54.4% 41.3% 4.3%
Argument 48.5% 49.4% 2.1%   46.7% 51.1% 2.1%
Workplace 84.9% 12.0% 3.1%   70.5% 26.4% 3.1%
Weapon              
Gun homicide 47.3% 50.8% 1.9%   42.0% 56.2% 1.7%
Arson 59.2% 37.9% 2.9%   55.7% 42.0% 2.3%
Poison 80.2% 17.2% 2.5%   79.6% 18.6% 1.8%
Multiple victims or offenders              
Multiple victims 63.6% 33.1% 3.4%   56.1% 40.5% 3.4%
Multiple offenders 55.0% 42.3% 2.7%   44.8% 52.8% 2.4%

Although slightly less true now than before,
most murders are intraracial

From 1976 to 2004 --

  • 86% of white victims were killed by whites
  • 94% of black victims were killed by blacks

To view data, click on the chart.

Race of Offender and Victim[D]

Stranger homicides are more likely to cross racial lines than those that involve friends or acquaintances

For homicides committed by --

  • a friend or acquaintance of the victim less than one-tenth (8%) were interracial
  • a stranger to the victim, one-quarter were interracial

To view data, click on the chart.

Race of Offender and Victim by relationship[D]

Source: FBI, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 1976-2004.
     See also Additional information about the data.

Note: The victims of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks are not included in this analysis.

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Page last revised on June 29, 2006