In 2014, approximately 59,000 persons died in the United States as a result of violence-related injuries. This report summarizes data from CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) regarding violent deaths from 18 U.S. states for 2014. Results are reported by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, marital status, location of injury, method of injury, circumstances of injury, and other selected characteristics.
NVDRS collects data from participating states regarding violent deaths. Data are obtained from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and secondary sources (e.g., child fatality review team data, supplemental homicide reports, hospital data, and crime laboratory data). This report includes data from 18 states that collected statewide data for 2014 (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin). NVDRS collates documents for each death and links deaths that are related (e.g., multiple homicides, a homicide followed by a suicide, or multiple suicides) into a single incident.
For 2014, a total of 22,098 fatal incidents involving 22,618 deaths were captured by NVDRS in the 18 states included in this report. The majority of deaths were suicides (65.6%), followed by homicides (22.5%), deaths of undetermined intent (10.0%), deaths involving legal intervention (1.3%) (i.e., deaths caused by law enforcement and other persons with legal authority to use deadly force, excluding legal executions), and unintentional firearm deaths (<1%). The term "legal intervention" is a classification incorporated into the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) and does not denote the lawfulness or legality of the circumstances surrounding a death caused by law enforcement. Suicides occurred at higher rates among males, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN), non-Hispanic whites, persons aged 45-54 years, and males aged ≥75 years. Suicides were preceded primarily by a mental health, intimate partner, substance abuse, or physical health problem or a crisis during the previous or upcoming 2 weeks. Homicide rates were higher among males and persons aged <1 year and 15-44 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black and AI/AN males. Homicides primarily were precipitated by arguments and interpersonal conflicts, occurrence in conjunction with another crime, or related to intimate partner violence (particularly for females). When the relationship between a homicide victim and a suspected perpetrator was known, it was most often either an acquaintance/friend or an intimate partner. Legal intervention death rates were highest among males and persons aged 20-44 years; rates were highest among non-Hispanic black males and Hispanic males. Precipitating factors for the majority of legal intervention deaths were alleged criminal activity in progress, the victim reportedly using a weapon in the incident, a mental health or substance abuse problem, an argument or conflict, or a recent crisis. Deaths of undetermined intent occurred more frequently among males, particularly non-Hispanic black and AI/AN males, and persons aged 30-54 years. Substance abuse, mental health problems, physical health problems, and a recent crisis were the most common circumstances preceding deaths of undetermined intent. Unintentional firearm deaths were more frequent among males, non-Hispanic whites, and persons aged 10-24 years; these deaths most often occurred while the shooter was playing with a firearm and were most often precipitated by a person unintentionally pulling the trigger or mistakenly thinking the firearm was unloaded.
This report provides a detailed summary of data from NVDRS for 2014. The results indicate that violent deaths resulting from self-inflicted or interpersonal violence disproportionately affected persons aged <65 years, males, and certain minority populations. The primary precipitating factors for homicides and suicides were intimate partner problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental health and substance abuse problems, and recent crises.
NVDRS data are used to monitor the occurrence of violence-related fatal injuries and assist public health authorities in the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies to reduce and prevent violent deaths. For example, North Carolina VDRS data were used to improve case ascertainment of pregnancy-associated suicides, Wisconsin VDRS data were used to develop the statewide suicide prevention strategy, and Colorado VDRS data were used to develop programs and prevention strategies for suicide among veterans. The continued development and expansion of NVDRS to include all U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia are essential to public health efforts to reduce the impact of violence.