Latinos, Blacks In the US Are More Exposed to Gun Violence, Survey Finds

A study carried out by the city of Chicago between 1995 and 2021 reveals that ethnicity can determine the degree of exposure to violence

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May 11, 2023 | 08:55 AM

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Bloomberg Línea — Latinos and African-Americans in Chicago are more likely to be victims of gun violence or witnesses to shootings than white citizens, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The survey, which was carried out in two stages because the violence curve experienced two distinct moments, is a long-term investigation that followed participants from childhood to age 40 in the city of Chicago, more precisely between 1995 and 2021.

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In the first wave (mid-1990s), where 2,418 men and women participated equally, male respondents were significantly more likely than female respondents to have been shot, and moderately more likely to have seen a shooting.

Blacks experienced higher rates of having been shot, of having seen someone shot, and of proximity to shootings.


Hispanic respondents experienced higher rates of exposure to violence and being near a shooting.

Violence in figures

By age 40, around 56% of black respondents and nearly 55% of Latinos said they had seen someone else get shot, compared with nearly 26% of white respondents, the report says.

In all, 6.4% of all respondents said they had been shot by age 40, but the ethnic disparity shows that about 7% of Blacks and Latinos said they had been shot, compared with 3.1% of white participants.


On the other hand, “respondents born in the mid-1990s who grew up amid large declines in homicides, but reached adulthood during the 2016 citywide and national spikes in gun violence, were less likely to have seen someone get shot than those born in the early 1980s who grew up during the peak of homicides in the early 1990s. However, the likelihood of having been shot did not differ significantly between these cohorts,” JAMA says.

Thus, Hispanic and Black respondents were twice as likely as whites to be direct victims of such violence.

Gender disparities in witnessing and being around gun violence were small, but men were at significantly greater risk of being shot than women.

Cohort differences were most pronounced for having seen someone shot; in particular, the youngest cohort in the study was less likely to have seen someone shot than the youngest cohort.


Although the report is confined to Chicago, the rates and trends of violence in the third largest US city may parallel those in other major cities, JAMA concluded.

Nearly 21 000 people in the US died from gun violence in 2021, a rate of 6.3 deaths per 100 000 population.

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