Statistical Briefing Book > Offending by Juveniles Previous Page
Self-report Behaviors
Q: Does the proportion of high school students carrying a weapon vary by demographics?
A: In 2019, male high school students reported carrying a weapon at least 1 day in the past month at higher rates than females, and white students reported carrying a weapon at higher rates than black, Hispanic, and Asian youth.

Percent of high school students who carried a weapon, by demographics, 2019

Demographics Carried a weapon Carried a weapon
on school property
Carried a gun
All high school students 13.2% 2.8% 4.4%
Male 19.5% 3.7% 6.7%
Female 6.7% 1.7% 2.0%
White* 15.0% 2.1% 3.3%
Black/African American* 9.4% 4.2% 7.1%
Hispanic or Latino 11.7% 3.1% 5.6%
American Indian/Alaska Native* NA 10.8% NA
Asian* 5.2% 1.3% 0.9%
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander* NA NA NA
Multiple Race* 17.5% 3.3% 5.7%
9th 12.5% 2.0% 3.9%
10th 12.2% 2.2% 4.4%
11th 12.9% 3.3% 4.5%
12th 14.9% 3.3% 4.7%

*Excludes persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be any race.
NA: Too few respondents to develop a reliable estimate.
Notes: Respondents were asked to consider the last 30 days when reporting whether they had 1) carried a weapon or 2) carried a weapon on school property, and the last 12 months when reporting about carrying a gun (which did not include days when the youth carried a gun solely for hunting or for a sport). Weapon includes a gun, knife, or club.

  • Male high school students were more likely to report carrying a weapon than females (19.5% vs 6.7%) and were more likely to carry a weapon on school property (3.7% vs 1.7%) in 2019.
  • Non-Hispanic white (15.0%) students were more likely than their Hispanic (11.7%), non-Hispanic black (9.4%), and non-Hispanic Asian (5.2%) peers to carry a weapon in the last 30 days. However, American Indian/Alaskan Native youth were more likely than white, Hispanic, and Asian youth to report carrying a weapon on school property in the last 30 days.
  • High school juniors and seniors were more likely report carrying a weapon in the past 30 days than high school freshman.
  • Respondents were also asked if they carried a gun within the last 12 months (excluding carrying a gun solely for hunting or for a sport). Males (6.7%) were more likely than females (2.0%) to report carrying a gun, and non-Hispanic black (7.1%), Hispanic (5.6%) and non-Hispanic white (3.3%) students were more likely to report carrying a gun than Asian (0.9%) students.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on September 21, 2020.

Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1991-2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Available at Accessed August 2020.

The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. The national YRBS is conducted every two years and provides data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools throughout the United States.