(CNN) — The United States has just recorded its highest increase in rates of homicide in modern history, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Provisional data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, released early Wednesday, suggest the homicide rate for the United States rose 30% between 2019 and 2020. It is the highest increase recorded in modern history — and confirms through public health data a rise in homicides that so far had been identified only through crime statistics.
The previous largest increase in the US homicide rate was a 20% rise recorded from 2000 to 2001 because of the September 11 terror attacks, according to NCHS.
“It is the largest increase in 100 years,” Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at NCHS, said.
The new data show the US homicide rate increased from about six homicides per 100,000 people in 2019 to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2020, according to NCHS. Researchers at the center noted that the 2020 homicide rate of 7.8 is the highest recorded in the United States since 1995 but is still significantly lower than the rates in the early 1980s, which topped 10 homicides per 100,000 people.
“So, it’s obviously of concern but we’re not at the levels that we were at that time,” Anderson said. “We’re heading in the wrong direction though, for sure.”
While the initial release of the NCHS preliminary data did not provide a total number of homicides from 2020, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report recorded about 21,570 murders total last year — compared with an estimated 16,425 murders in 2019.