Between 1985 and 1995 nearly 25,000 juveniles were murdered in the United States -- 2,600 in 1995


Murder is most common among the oldest and the youngest juveniles

In 1995 an estimated 2,600 persons below the age of 18 were murdered in the United States. This is nearly four (3.8) murdered juveniles for every 100,000 juveniles in the U.S. population. Youth with the highest murder rates in 1995 were those ages 17 (18.3), 16 (13.4), and 15 (7.7). The next highest murder rate was for those children under the age of one (7.0), followed by those age one (4.5).

In 1995, 72% of murdered juveniles were male, 49% were black, and 47% were white. Twenty-two percent of juvenile murder victims were murdered by family members, 37% by acquaintances, and 13% by strangers; in 28% of juvenile murders in 1995, the offender was unknown. Sixty-one percent of all juveniles murdered in 1995 were killed with a firearm.

The murders of younger and older juveniles have different characteristics. Compared to youth under age 12, older juvenile murder victims in 1995 were more likely to be male (80% vs. 55%) and black (54% vs. 40%). A substantially larger proportion of younger victims were killed by family members (57% vs. 5%), while in a larger proportion of the murders of older juveniles the offender was unknown (36% vs. 12%). Another major difference between the murder of older and younger juveniles was the relative involvement of firearms. In 1995, 83% of older murdered juveniles were killed with a firearm, while firearms were used in only 17% of the murders of younger juveniles.

One-third of all murders of juveniles in the United States in 1995 occurred in 10 counties


In 1995 the FBI collected a detailed Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) on 93% of all murder victims in the U.S. The map above presents an analysis of these data. Consequently, as many as 200 of the 2,600 murdered juveniles may not be represented on the map.

Based on reported SHR data, no juveniles were murdered in 84% of the more than 3,000 U.S. counties in 1995. In 9% of U.S. counties, one juvenile was murdered. More than one-third of all murdered juveniles were killed in 10 counties. The major cities in these 10 counties (beginning with the city in the county with the most murdered juveniles) are Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, San Bernardino, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

States with the highest juvenile murder rates were Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, California, and Oklahoma. Oklahoma's high rate is the result of the bombing of the Federal Building in April 1995.

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Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1997 Update on Violence