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Embargoed until 4 p.m. ET October 11, 2001

October 12, 2001
Contact: CDC, National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control
(770) 488–4298

Press Release

Southern and western States log highest rates of intimate partner homicide

Southern and Western states have the highest rates of intimate partner homicide among women, researchers at CDC found in analyzing data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This is the first time that statistics from the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports have been calculated to obtain state rates for intimate partner homicide. The report calculates national intimate partner homicide rates for all four racial groups, including for the first time, Asians and American Indian/Alaska Native. About half the intimate partner homicides against both women and men were committed by legal spouses. The findings are published in the October 12 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Surveillance Summaries.

In analyzing data from 1981 through 1998, CDC researchers also found the risk of intimate partner homicide increases with the population of the community in which couples live. Rates of intimate partner homicide in cities with a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) greater than 250,000 persons were two to three times greater than rates in cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. Rates in rural, non-MSA counties were comparable to those of MSA cities with populations of 50,000 to 99,999.

Women were 1.6 times more likely to die of an intimate partner homicide than were men during this 17-year time period. Rates among blacks were 4.6 times rates among whites. Rates were highest among females aged 20-39 years and males aged 30-49. During 1981 - 1998, rates of intimate partner homicide decreased steadily, for an overall reduction of 47.2% . Overall, rates among males decreased 67.8%, and rates among females decreased 30.1%.

"While the rates of intimate partner homicide are falling, this analysis shows notable disparities in risk by race, sex, and place of residence. Understanding the reasons for the decreases may help us identify better means of protecting those who remain at risk," said Sue Binder, MD, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The report is being released during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a month designated by survivors, advocates, service providers and others to work on increasing awareness of the public health impact of intimate partner violence.

CDC protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.

Note to editors: This report may be viewed online at:

Additional violence prevention information from CDC is available at

Intimate Partner Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements may be viewed on line at:

Best Practice to Prevent Violence by Children and Adolescents: A Sourcebook for Community Action may be viewed on line at:

Additional information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month is available on line at:

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This page last reviewed October 18, 2001

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