04 October 2015

The terribly high rate of U.S. child gun deaths in one gif

Guns kill too many kids in the U.S. The problem is stark when seeing how few countries have a higher fatality rate.

It is well-documented that firearm fatalities in the U.S. are far higher than other wealthy countries. The rate of 3.55 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013 is more than six times greater than our neighbor to the north, Canada (0.49 per 100,000). But it is the fact that the difference extends to children. In the gif below, you will see how all countries compare for 2013 firearm deaths for children between the ages of 5 and 14 years old. The second image removes all the countries that perform better than the U.S. The few that are left show just how poorly the U.S. performs.

The color grade throws things off a bit because countries like Venezuela, Colombia and Honduras are particularly dangerous for children. It may look like the U.S. is not all that much worse than Algeria. But if you go look at the data, visualized by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, you will see that the U.S. rate of 0.32 child deaths per 100,000 people is significantly higher than Libya (0.056), China (0.019), and Indonesia (0.029).

There is no way around the fact that gun deaths are a major problem in the United States. There are lessons to be learned from elsewhere. A piece published in Humanosphere last year goes deeper into comparing the U.S. and the world on gun deaths. It also features the example of Cali, Colombia, a city that managed to reduce its homicide rate through gun bans.

I will defer to the experts for the answers, but the gun violence must be addressed immediately. That status quo is not OK.