Better World

Gun deaths among United States children increased by 50% in two years, according to new research

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According to new findings by the Pew Research Center, the number of gun-related deaths among children under 18 in the United States increased by 50 percent between 2019 and 2021. This sharp increase corresponds with a rise in gun-related deaths in the US among all age groups during the same time period.

In 2019, there were 1,732 gun deaths among children under 18 years old. Two years later that number had increased to 2,590. Gun deaths among all age groups spiked to their highest number on record in 2021. 

The gun-related deaths in the study include those from homicides, suicides, and accidents. Homicide was the most common cause of deaths, making up 60 percent of the total gun deaths of children under 18. Suicide made up 32 percent of the total, and accidents accounted for 5 percent.

Depending on their race and gender, some kids were more likely than others to be killed by a gun. Boys made up 83 percent of all child gun deaths in the study, and girls accounted for only 17 percent. Black children were around five times more likely to lose their lives to gunfire than white children. 

These statistics are alarming, but parents can help keep their kids safe by opening a dialogue with them about gun safety. This guide for parents covers the basics of gun safety in the home, and features a short script for parents to follow when talking about guns with their kids.

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.