New CDC/NCHS Data Confirm Largest One-Year Increase in U.S. Homicide Rate in 2020

For Immediate Release: October 6, 2021

Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Communication (301) 458-4800

Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate that the homicide rate for the United States increased 30 percent from 2019 to 2020, the highest ever recorded in modern history.

The findings are consistent with other recent findings by the U.S. Department of Justice, and are featured on an interactive web-only data visualization on leading causes of death. Homicide is one of more than 20 causes of death featured on the dashboard, which is updated quarterly. The new provisional data show the homicide rate in the United States increased from 6.0 homicides per 100,000 in 2019 to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2020. The 30 percent increase from 2019 to 2020 is larger than the previous largest increase – the 20 percent increase recorded from 2000 to 2001, which stemmed from the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The 2020 homicide rate of 7.8 is the highest in the United States since 1995 – but is still significantly lower than the rates in the early 1980’s, which topped 10 homicides per 100,000.

The provisional data featured in this data visualization do not document the various mechanisms of homicide; however, the provisional firearm injury death rate also increased from 11.9 firearm deaths per 100,000 in 2019 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2020 – a 14 percent increase.

The data also show that the suicide rate declined slightly in 2020, from 13.9 suicides per 100,000 in 2019 to 13.5 in 2020.

Follow-up analyses from NCHS will provide more insight on the 2020 increases in homicide, including homicide mechanism, demographical data, and state-level information.