Statistics

Firearm Deaths in the U.S.
2009-2018

Number of deaths

Suicide
Homicide
Other

The “other” category is defined as any firearm death that is not defined by the CDC as a homicide or a suicide. This could include unintentional, undetermined, and legal intervention. To obtain the number of deaths in the “other” category, the total number of firearm suicide deaths and firearm homicide deaths were subtracted from the overall firearm deaths in a given year.

Firearm Death Rates in the U.S.
2009-2018

Age-adjusted rate per 100,000

Firearm Homicide Rate
Firearm Suicide Rate

Disparities Across Demographics

BY SEX

While females are more likely than males to attempt suicide, males are four times more likely to die by suicide.  Across all demographics, males have higher rates of firearm suicide and suicide overall. This is primarily due to the fact that males are more likely to use a more lethal suicide attempt method, such as firearms. Suicide attempts among males are eight times more likely to involve firearms than attempts among females.

Firearm Suicide Deaths by Sex
2014-2018

Male
Female

BY SEX, AGE, RACE AND ETHNICITY

While no population is immune from firearm suicide, some demographic groups are at higher risk. Males die by firearm suicide at overwhelmingly higher rates than do females. White males and American Indian/Alaska Native males, in particular, are disproportionately impacted by firearm suicide.

In 2018, firearm suicide risk was highest among people age 75 and older across the population as a whole, but that was primarily due to the very high rate of suicide among White males in that age group; White males had the highest rate of suicide across all age groups. However, firearm suicide rates peaked at younger ages for other race/sex demographic groups. Looking at rates by sex, race, and age together can help to paint a better picture of firearm suicide in the United States.

 

Among males:

Male Firearm Suicide Rates by Race and Age
2018

Rate per 100,000

Age Group

American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian/Pacific Islander
Black
White (non-Latino)
Hispanic/Latino (Any Race)

Note: The CDC considers firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 20 deaths “statistically unreliable” and suppresses firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 10 deaths. Fewer than 20 firearm suicides were reported during this time period for the following races and therefore are omitted from the above chart: American Indian/ Alaska Native males ages 75+ and Asian/ Pacific Islander males ages 75+.

Among females:

Female Firearm Suicide Rates by Race and Age
2018

Rate per 100,000

Age Group

American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian/Pacific Islander
Black
White (non-Latino)
Hispanic/Latino (Any Race)

Note: The CDC considers firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 20 deaths “statistically unreliable” and suppresses firearm suicide rates based on fewer than 10 deaths. Fewer than 20 firearm suicides were reported during this time period for the following races and therefore are omitted from the above chart: American Indian/ Alaska Native females all age groups; Asian/ Pacific Islander females ages 0-19, 55-74, and 75+; Black females ages 75+; and Hispanic/Latino (any race) females ages 0-19 and 75+.

Variations by State

Firearm suicide rates vary substantially across the country. Suicide rates (both overall and by firearm) are generally higher in places where household firearm ownership is more common. In 2018, Hawaii had the lowest firearm suicide rate, while Massachusetts had the highest.

State Firearm Suicide Rates, 2018
Ranked from Lowest to Highest

Age-adjusted rate per 100,000

Sources:

Unless otherwise specified, all other data is compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2018 on CDC Wonder Online Database.

  1. Conner A, Azrael D, & Miller M. (2019). Suicide case-fatality rates in the United States, 2007 to 2014: A nationwide population-based study. Annals of Internal Medicine.

This page was last updated on February 13, 2020.