Where Does Your State Rank When It Comes to Black Homicide?

By Shani Saxon May 30, 2019

A new report from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) shines a light on how Black people die in the United States. Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2016 Homicide Data taps unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) to rank states according to the number of Black teens and adults murdered there; the latest data available is from 2016.

The analysis reveals a national crisis. From the report:


According to the FBI SHR data, in 2016 there were 7,756 Black homicide victims in the United States. The homicide rate among Black victims in the United States was 20.44 per 100,000. For that year, the overall national homicide rate was 5.10 per 100,000. For Whites, the national homicide rate was 2.96 per 100,000.




The homicide rate for Black male victims was 37.12 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for male homicide victims was 8.29 per 100,000. For White male homicide victims it was 4.39 per 100,000. The homicide rate for female Black victims was 5.07 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for female homicide victims was 1.97 per 100,000. For White female homicide victims it was 1.55 per 100,000. 

VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann says these statistics should spark outrage. “The devastating and disproportionate impact homicide, almost always involving a gun, has on Black men, boys, women and girls in America is a national shame,” he says. “These deaths devastate families, traumatize communities and should provoke an outcry for change. The goal of our research is to help educate the public and policymakers, spur action and aid community leaders already working to end this crisis.”

The ten states with the most homicides of Black adults and teens are:


  1. Missouri
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  3. Wisconsin
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  5. West Virginia
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  7. Illinois
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  9. Indiana
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  11. Kentucky
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  13. Michigan
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  15. Tennessee
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  17. Louisiana
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  19. Pennsylvania
  20. rn

In homicides of Black people with an identified weapon, a gun was used 87 percent of the time. Of those guns, 66 percent were handguns. Karen Abrams, interim executive director for States United to Prevent Gun Violence, insists the nation needs to acknowledge that Black and Brown people are disproportionately affected by gun violence.

“Every day, state by state across the nation, we see how gun violence disproportionately traumatizes communities of color, a tragedy confirmed by these deeply disturbing numbers,” she said. “At States United, we will continue to focus a race equity lens on the scourge of gun violence. Our 32 grassroots state organizations make change happen every day to end gun deaths and injuries—so many of which are inextricably linked to racial oppression—and nurture safer communities for all.”

Read the full report—and see where your state ranks—here.