Between 2019 and 2020, the homicide rates in the US rose by 30 per cent, the data – released on Wednesday – show, in what was the largest jump in the murder rate in modern history.
“It is the largest increase in 100 years,” Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told CNN.
“The only larger increase since we’ve been recording these data occurred between 1904 and 1905, and that increase was most likely, at least partly, the result of better reporting. We had states being added to what we refer to as the death registration areas, so we were counting deaths in more areas over time. We didn’t have all states reporting until 1933.”
According to the NCHS, the homicide rate rose from around six per 100,000 people in 2019 to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2020. The rate currently stands at its highest for more than two decades.
The last time there was a higher homicide rate was in 1995, while the last highest jump of this nature came in in 2001 – as a reasult of the 9/11 attacks, according to the NCHS.
Such an jump matches a report released by the FBI last month that showed a sharp leap in homicides between 2019 and 2020, as well as a rise in other violent crime following a dip from 2017-19. It also matches reports from large cities across the US, such as New York, where the murder rate spiked in 2020 increased by 45 per cent amid an epidemic of gun crime in the city.
However, despite the significant jump in the homicide rate, which Mr Anderson said showed “we’re heading in the wrong direction”, the murder rate across the US still remains lower than it did during the 1980s.