A recent analysis published in The Lancet reveals that Black women in the United States are six times more likely to be victims of homicide compared to their White counterparts between 1999 and 2020. The study, which examines trends in homicides over a span of two decades among women aged 25 to 44, also highlights that Black women are more likely to be killed by guns.
Disparities in homicide rates between Black and White women have long been observed, with Black women facing higher rates of violence compared to other women of color, including Native American and Alaska Native women. However, comprehensive data on these disparities has been limited.
Dr. Bernadine Waller, the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, emphasizes the heartbreaking reality that Black women are murdered at rates as high as 20 to 1 in certain states. This underscores the urgent need for structural changes to address these disparities.
Recent research suggests a strong link between higher homicide rates and deeply entrenched racial inequities, which manifest through factors like educational attainment, unemployment, and wealth distribution. Addressing structural racism in the United States could potentially help prevent elevated homicide rates among Black women.
To gain a better understanding of disparities in homicide rates over time at the state and regional levels, the researchers utilized public health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a cross-sectional analysis. The study focused on homicide death rates for Black and White women aged 25 to 44 in 30 states with sufficient data for analysis.
The findings revealed that between 1999 and 2020, Black women in the United States had consistently higher homicide rates compared to White women. In 2020, the homicide rate among Black women was 11.6 per 100,000 population, while the rate among White women was 3 per 100,000. These rates remained relatively stable since 1999, indicating that little progress has been made in reducing the disparities.
While the disparities in homicide rates declined from 1999 to 2013 due to a decrease in homicide rates among Black women, they began to increase again from 2013 to 2020. The analysis also revealed variations in the disparities between states over the course of two decades.
Across all periods and states analyzed, Black women consistently faced higher homicide rates compared to White women. The Midwest region had the most significant disparities, with Black women in 2020 being over seven times more likely to be murdered than White women. In Wisconsin, the inequities were even more pronounced in 2019-2020, with Black women being 20 times more likely to be victims of homicide than their White counterparts.
These findings highlight the urgent need for targeted interventions and policies to address the structural factors that contribute to these disparities in homicide rates. By addressing economic and social inequities, improving access to education and employment opportunities, and promoting gun control measures, it may be possible to reduce the disproportionately high rates of homicide among Black women in the United States.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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