REPORT: Missouri Tops List for Highest Black Homicide Rate in U.S.

By Kenrya Rankin Mar 28, 2017

The 2017 edition of the Violence Policy Center’s (VPC) annual study reveals that while Black Americans represent just 13 percent of the population, they account for half of all homicide victims—and Missouri has the highest rate of Black homicides in the nation.

Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2014 Homicide Data” analyzes the most recent set of unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report data that states submitted to the FBI. The VPC reports that this is the first analysis of this data set that focuses on Black homicide victims.

Per the report, there were 6,095 Black homicide victims in the United States in 2014, and 86 percent of them were men. The national homicide rate was 4.19 per 100,000, but for Blacks, that rate jumped to 16.38. For their White counterparts, it was just 2.52.

When broken down by state, Missouri had the highest Black homicide rate. At 34.98 per 100,000, it was more than double the national average for Black victims. Hawaii, New Hampshire and Vermont tied for the lowest rate, with zero Black homicide victims. The data includes deaths that are reported as “justifiable homicides” at the hands of law enforcement. For 2014, the reported number was 115.


“Each year this report reveals the devastating and disproportionate impact homicide, almost always involving a gun, has on Black men, boys, women and girls in America,” Josh Sugarmann, VPC’s executive director, said in a statement. “These deaths devastate families and traumatize whole communities. We hope our research will not only help educate the public and policymakers, but aid community leaders already working to end this grave injustice.”

Read the full study here.