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Black-White Differentials in Adult Homicide Mortality in the United States


Rogers, Richard G.; Rosenblatt, Rebecca; Hummer, Robert A.; & Krueger, Patrick M. (2001). Black-White Differentials in Adult Homicide Mortality in the United States. Social Science Quarterly, 82(3), 435-452.


Objective: This article examines individual level black-white differences in adult homicide mortality. Homicide is a major social problem and a central cause of preventable death in the United States. A homicide not only claims one life prematurely but can also devastate a family, friends, and a neighboring community.
Methods: We link eight consecutive years of the National Health Interview Survey (1987–94) to the Multiple Cause of Death file through the National Death Index (1987–97), and use Cox proportional hazard models to examine the role of social factors in black-white homicide mortality in the United States.
Results: We find that individual level sociodemographic characteristics—age, sex, marital status, education, employment status, and geographic factors—explain almost 35 percent of the racial differences in homicide mortality.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate the contributions that National Center for Health Statistics data can make to criminological literature and reveal the mechanisms through which blacks experience higher homicide mortality than whites. Such illumination may lead to a reduction in the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Science Quarterly


Rogers, Richard G.
Rosenblatt, Rebecca
Hummer, Robert A.
Krueger, Patrick M.