By the Numbers: Gun Violence in America

A statistical overview of gunfire's massive toll.

Mass shootings have a way of focusing the nation's attention to the scourge of gun violence, but those events are relatively infrequent.

In some parts of the country, gunfire is a part of everyday life.

Despite overall drops in the crime rate, America still has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world.

Data collected by government agencies show how deeply this plague impacts the country, particularly children.

More victims live than die

289: The number of people, on average, who are shot every day in America as the result of murders, assaults, suicides, suicide attempts, accidents and police actions. (1)

202: The number of those average daily victims who survive their injuries. (1)

32,163: The number of people shot to death in 2011. (2)

73,883: The number of people who survived gunshot wounds in 2011 (3)

Weapons of choice

67.8Percentage of 2011 murders in which a gun was used. (5)

72.5Percentage of 2011 gun murders in which handguns were used. (5)

3.8: Percentage of 2011 gun murders in which rifles were used. (5)

Children as victims

18,287: The number of children aged 0 to 19 shot in 2010. (4)

15,576: The number of those young 2010 victims who survived their injuries. (3)

5,247: By comparison, the number of U.S. soldiers wounded in action in 2010 in the war in Afghanistan. (6)

119,079The number of children and teens who were killed by firearms between 1979 and 2010. (7)

86,405: By comparison, the combined number of U.S. soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam, Korean, Afghanistan and Iraq wars. (6)

82The number of children under the age of 5 who died from firearms in 2010 (4)

58: By comparison, the number of law enforcement officers killed by firearms in the line of duty in 2010. (8)


(1) 2010 fatal and 2011 non-fatal injury data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System

(2) CDC’s National Vital Statistics Reports Vol. 61, No. 6 - Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011

(3) CDC’s WISQARS Nonfatal Injury Reports

(4) CDC’s WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports

(5) The FBI’s Crime in the United States 2011

(6) The Children's Defense Fund, The Department of Defense's Defense Casualty Analysis System: Conflict Casualties (as of Jan. 4, 2012)

(7) The Children's Defense Fund, The CDC's WONDER Online Database

(8) The Children's Defense Fund, The FBI's Law enforcement deaths (includes felonious and accidental deaths by firearms)

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