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Firearm Deaths
Firearm Deaths  in United States
United States

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United States Value:


Number of deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide or undetermined) per 100,000 population

Firearm Deaths in depth:

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Firearm Deaths by State

Number of deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide or undetermined) per 100,000 population

Firearm Deaths Trends

Number of deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide or undetermined) per 100,000 population

Trend: Firearm Deaths in United States, 2023 Annual Report

Number of deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide or undetermined) per 100,000 population

United States

 CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files

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About Firearm Deaths

US Value: 14.7

Top State(s): Massachusetts: 3.4

Bottom State(s): Mississippi: 33.0

Definition: Number of deaths due to firearm injury of any intent (unintentional, suicide, homicide or undetermined) per 100,000 population

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, 2021

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC WONDER, Multiple Cause of Death Files, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

In the United States, gun violence continues to be a significant public health issue. In 2020, firearms were involved in 79% of all homicides, a 35% increase from the previous year. Firearms deaths of all intents increased significantly across both rural and urban geographies, with disproportionate impacts on low-income areas. Between 2019 and 2020, counties with higher poverty levels experienced greater increases in and higher overall rates of both homicides and suicides due to firearms. Counties least affected by poverty still saw a 22% increase in firearm homicides; however, all other counties experienced increases of 40% or more.

Despite being used in less than 10% of suicide attempts, firearms are responsible for more than half of all suicide deaths in the United States. 

Compared with other causes of death, firearm deaths take a larger toll on society in terms of years of potential life lost. In 2020, firearm deaths accounted for more than 1.1 million years of potential life lost. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic may have compounded existing social and economic stressors, contributing to the disproportionate increases in homicide and suicide rates among racial and ethnic minority communities.

According to America’s Health Rankings data, the firearm death rate is higher among: 

  • Males, who have a rate about 6 times that of females.
  • Those ages 25-34 and 15-24 compared with those in 35 and older age groups.
  • Black and American Indian/Alaska Native populations compared with Asian and multiracial populations.

Counties at the highest poverty level have rates of firearm homicide and firearm suicide 4.5 times and 1.3 times higher, respectively, than counties at the lowest poverty level. Additionally, Hispanic men and non-Hispanic Black men ages 20-40 have significantly higher rates of mortality from firearm homicides than any other demographic group. Non-Hispanic white men ages 70 and older have the highest rate of firearm suicide fatalities.

There is a lot that can be done at the individual, community and policy levels to prevent firearm deaths.

Community- and state-level initiatives are key. Communities can offer resources and support to help resolve conflicts before they escalate to gun violence and partner with public health and public safety agencies to examine local trends in gun violence and generate solutions. State-level policy recommendations include strengthening firearm legislation, particularly background checks and permit laws.

Improving access to mental health resources can help prevent suicide. Examples include medical interventions, support groups, effective clinical care for mental disorders and family and community support. In 2022, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was launched to provide an easy-to-remember number and 24/7 confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources, by call, text and online chat.

Healthy People 2030 has several violence prevention objectives related to firearms, including: 

  • Reducing firearm-related deaths. 
  • Reducing gun carrying among adolescents. 
  • Reducing nonfatal physical assault injuries. 
  • Reducing nonfatal firearm-related injuries.

Davis, Ari, Lisa Geller, Rose Kim, Silvia Villarreal, Alexander McCourt, Janel Cubbage, and Cassandra Crifasi. “A Year in Review: 2020 Gun Deaths in the U.S.” Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, 2022.

Kegler, Scott R., Thomas R. Simon, Marissa L. Zwald, May S. Chen, James A. Mercy, Christopher M. Jones, Melissa C. Mercado-Crespo, et al. “Vital Signs?: Changes in Firearm Homicide and Suicide Rates — United States, 2019–2020.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 71, no. 19 (May 10, 2022).

Lee, Lois K., Eric W. Fleegler, Caitlin Farrell, Elorm Avakame, Saranya Srinivasan, David Hemenway, and Michael C. Monuteaux. “Firearm Laws and Firearm Homicides: A Systematic Review.” JAMA Internal Medicine 177, no. 1 (January 1, 2017): 106.

Rees, Chris A., Michael C. Monuteaux, Isabella Steidley, Rebekah Mannix, Lois K. Lee, Jefferson T. Barrett, and Eric W. Fleegler. “Trends and Disparities in Firearm Fatalities in the United States, 1990-2021.” JAMA Network Open 5, no. 11 (November 29, 2022): e2244221.

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