Demographics of Murder


01-Stop-the-Violence-GunOver the last few years we have seen a lot about murder in the news and it is easy to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.  But the question we must really ask ourselves is:  Are we really no longer say to walk the streets.  Well the answer is more comforting than the media would have you believe depending on how you look at it.  While it is true that people are actually being murdered at a rate of 1 murder every 36 minutes according to the FBI, according to the CDC birth rates still outpace that.  What that means is that statistically speaking every 10-15 seconds your chance of getting killed actually drops.  So while you can get murdered, the chances of it happening are about are about .00005%, so breathe a sigh of relief.
            How can I say that you might ask, well it’s quite simple, according to the latest census there are about 316,000,000 people in the US. In 2011 there were 10,832 cases of arrest for murder and non-negligent manslaughter and 14,612 cases of reported murder and non-negligent manslaughter, again according to the FBI.   With those numbers being placed out there, I‘d say another question comes to mind that should concern you, why are there 4000 more reported cases than arrest?  But those number are actually slightly lower than they were in 2010 when the reported number was 14,722 and the arrested number was 11,201.  Looking away from that number of arrest which could be seen as a good thing because that number continues to go up (it’s even higher in 2009 at 12,418 which sets up another interesting series of questions) we see a downward trend in the amount of murders in the United States. 

Of course there are some things that can happen to you to make you more likely to be a victim of murder, most of them well within your control but some of them not so much.  One such thing seems to be your race.  Being in the south seems to be one being that it is the most populous region it also contains 40% of all murder cases. Being a male over 18 also seems to help your chances ideally between 25 and 34.  Being black seems to be another one as 50 percent of all murder seem to be black males.  50 percent of those arrested are also black males, with white males of the same age group coming in second in both categories. 

One could point to any number of reasons as to why a demographic that makes up 13 percent of the population also makes up 50 percent of the murder statistics.  I myself like to think it has something to do with economics.  40 percent of black households make less than $30,000 dollars a year according the census.  That is for a family, and most of those murders seem to be coming from poverty stricken communities.  11 percent of black household live off less than 10,000 a year compared to only 4.2 percent of whites.  Seems to me that if remove a person’s money and tell them to survive, things are going to get a little hectic.  While those numbers don’t seem too drastic, when taken within the grand scheme of all the numbers a direr picture emerges.  We could get into loads of different theories about why it is the way it is ranging from long term psychological damages caused by slavery and a failure to assist or promote dealing with those scars that remain open to the simple black people are animals approach taken by some.  I don’t want to get into it here because long blogs don’t get read but I will be addressing this at a future point.  I do agree with racial profiling, I believe it happens and any visit to the courthouse on any day will prove it happens as blacks are 13 percent of the population but on my routine visits to the courthouse we are 90 percent of the people waiting for trial.  That statistic is to bold to be random occurrence. 


However I do trust the census numbers, the FBI numbers bother me a little because of their failure to recognize Hispanics in their recent numbers.  The lack of attention to the other demographics also leaves a lot to be desired about understanding totally what is happening.  But it is clear that if you don’t want to be a murder victim, being anything but a 25-34 year old black male in the south increases your chances quite a bit.  Doesn’t that sound like something said in those old slavery days?  But what do you think, why are blacks so prominent in the murder numbers?  Why has the common thread for a murder victim not changed in American history in some respects, it has seemingly always been a young black male in the south?



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013, April 17). births and Natality. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2013, April 17). National Violent Crime Data. Retrieved from The FBI:

US Census Bureau. (2013, April 17). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from US Census US and World Population Clock:


PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.


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