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Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394


October 17, 2000
Contact: CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639–3286

Facts About: Youth Violence

  • Firearm-related homicide is the second leading cause of death among young Americans 15 to 19 years of age. Among African Americans, in the same age group, it is the leading cause of death. For 10- to 14-year-olds, it is the third leading cause of death.

  • In addition to dying from violence, many U.S. youth are committing violent acts. In 1997, 1,700 teens under the age of 18 were implicated in 1,400 murders.

  • In each year since 1988, more than 80% of homicide victims 15 to 19 years of age were killed with a firearm. In 1997, 85% of homicide victims 15 to 19 years of age were killed with a firearm.

  • In 1999, 4.9% (about 1 in 20) of students participating in CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported carrying a firearm at least once in the previous 30 days.

  • Research shows that there are a number of individual and social factors that increase the probability of violence during adolescence and young adulthood. Some of these factors include:

    • History of early aggression
    • Exposure to violence in the home
    • Parental drug/alcohol abuse
    • Associate with peers engaged in high-risk or problem behavior
    • Poverty and diminished economic opportunities
  • To help prevent youth violence, CDC has published "Best Practices in Youth Violence Prevention." Best Practices represents the best knowledge now available to help communities prevent violence among young people. The publication is available online at Or, you can obtain a free copy by writing to CDC-NCIPC, Division of Violence Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway (K-65), Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, or by calling 1 888 252-7751.

Additional information about youth violence including suicide, school crimes, and dating violence are online at

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This page last reviewed October 11, 2002

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention