U.S. Homicides Saw 'Largest Increase in 100 Years' in 2020

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed the country recorded its highest increase in homicide rates last year.


Image via Getty/Jack Berman


On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the country recorded its highest-ever increase in homicide rates last year.

Published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, the provisional data indicates the homicide rate in the United States rose as much as 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. Per the NCHS, the rate increased from approximately six homicides per 100,000 people in 2019 to 7.8 per 100K in 2020. The 7.8 statistic is the highest since 1995, but not as high as it was in the first half of ’80s, at which point it peaked at 10 homicides per 100,000 people.

"It is the largest increase in 100 years," Robert Anderson, the chief of NCHS' mortality statistics branch, 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."

The preliminary data does not report the total number of homicides in 2020, but the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report indicated 21,570 murders were recorded last year. In 2019, meanwhile, the FBI recorded an estimated 16,425 murders.

The new data from the NCHS also shows that only Maine, New Mexico, and Alaska recorded a decrease in homicides in 2020. 

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