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One Big Thing: The Leading Cause of Death in Young Black Males

man in mourning for leading cause of deathbin young black males

Young black males deserve to grow old like anybody else; but are frequently denied that opportunity.

The recent deaths of high-profile rap artists Takeoff and PnB Rock reflect an American crisis – the Black male homicide epidemic.

Our lives are frequently cut short, and guns play a central role. 

Gun violence generally reduces the overall life expectancy of Black Americans by four years.

Still, there is a brutal reality that needs to be acknowledged regarding Black males in particular. We likely know someone  — a family member, friend, or acquaintance — who was killed by a gun.

Black Men’s Health’s “One Big Thing” examines the stats behind the Black male homicide epidemic and firearms. 

What the Numbers Say

The rate of gun-related homicides spiked during the pandemic, as did Black male deaths.

The most significant increases in gun-related homicide between 2019-2020 occurred among Black males, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC reports that the firearm homicide rate among Black males 10–24 was 20.6 times as high as the rate among White males of the same age in 2019, and this ratio increased to 21.6 in 2020.

The One Big Takeaway

Homicide is the leading cause of death for Black males ages 1-19 and 20-44.

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