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The US Has Had The Western World's Worst Rate Of Homicide For At Least 60 Years

For the last six decades, homicide has been much more common in the US than in other developed countries.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recently published a book called “How Was Life?”, in which researchers assembled historical statistics on a number of measures of economic and human development and quality of life going back as far as 1820. One of the areas the book includes is personal safety, and one of the metrics used to determine safety is homicide rates.

The book includes a chart showing homicide rates since 1950 in the US, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia:

US vs Europe Homicide RatesOECD ‘How Was Life?’, page 147

The US rate was vastly higher than the other Western countries throughout the last sixty years. The book’s authors note that the period from the mid-1960s through the mid-1990s showed elevated homicide rates in a number of developed countries, but the chart illustrates that that jump was most severe in the US.

A table from the report showing homicide rates for a number of countries around the world shows that the US has consistently had higher homicide rates than most other developed countries:

Screen Shot 2014 11 12 at 10.14.53 AMOECD ‘How Was Life?’, page 150

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