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America’s Rate of Gun Deaths for Children and Teens Far Surpasses Other Nations

July 18, 2023

The U.S. continues to have significantly more child and teen firearm deaths than its global peers and the margin is only growing, according to new analysis released today from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

During 2020 and 2021, firearms were the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens, KFF report noted. During 2021, there were more than 4,700 child and teen deaths that involved firearms.

“The United States has by far the highest rate of child and teen firearm mortality among peer nations,” the report notes. “In no other similarly large, wealthy country are firearms in the top four causes of death for children and teens, let alone the number one cause.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Growing concern:  The rate for child firearm mortality has doubled from 1.8 deaths per 100,000 during 2013 to 3.7 during 2021.
  • By country:  The U.S. is the only country among its peers to have firearms as the leading cause of death for children and teens, outpacing both cancer and motor vehicle deaths.
    • The U.S. leads across categories for child and teen firearm deaths, including suicides, assaults, and unintentional or undetermined intent.
  • Statewide perspective: Pennsylvania is in the middle of the pack for child and teen firearm mortality at 6.2 per 100,000.
    • Louisiana had the highest rate (17.6), and New York had the lowest (2.1).
  • Leading factor:  The child and teen firearm assault mortality for 2021 was 3.9 per 100,000, a 50 percent increase from 2019.
  • Quotable:  “On a per capita basis, the firearm death rate among children and teens (ages 1–19) in the U.S. is over 9.5 times the firearm death rate of Canadian children and teens (ages 1–19),” the report noted. “Canada is the country with the second-highest child and teen firearm death rate among similarly large and wealthy nations.”

Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems continue to focus on the toll of gun violence in our communities, while highlighting the need for solutions to reverse these discouraging trends.

HAP’s ongoing work to combat gun violence includes:

  • Supporting legislation intended to address the issue
  • Working with state and national partners like the American Hospital Association to ensure our communities and workplaces are safe

The KFF report is available to review online.