BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Firearm violence is on the rise in the United States — and with an increase in gun use comes an added increase in the number of deaths caused by firearms. Between 2012 and 2021, the rate of firearm deaths in the United States increased by 45.5%, and is extended further to a 70% growth rate between 2000 and 2021. However, not every state sees the same number of gun violence or gun-related deaths — or the same number of fatalities that arise as a result of it. And as a recent study from data-collecting site shows, when it comes to gun violence in North Dakota, our own statistics still leave something to be desired.

During their analysis, in an attempt to discover where gun-related deaths were the most common, USAFacts took information from two different CDC systems — the WONDER Database, which collects data from death certificates in every U.S County, and the QISQUARS Fatal Injury Data Visualization Tool, which displays data related to state demographics, death counts, and specifically injury-related deaths. The total number of firearm-related deaths for each state was extracted from the most recent data available (from 2021), which allowed researchers to rank them by the total number of fatalities.

When the different numbers of firearm fatalities were measured against one another, it was determined that North Dakota’s overall level of fatalities was relatively low when compared to other states. According to the study, The Peace Garden State only averaged a total of 128 deaths over the entire year in question — which is one of the lowest numbers in the nation. In contrast, larger, more bustling states (such as Florida, Texas, and California) tend to have far higher numbers of shooting-related deaths.

RankStateFirearm Deaths in 2021Firearm Deaths Per Capita in 2021
1Rhode Island645.6
4New Hampshire1238.3
5North Dakota12816.8
States with the lowest number of firearm deaths
RankStateFirearm Deaths in 2021Firearm Deaths Per Capita in 2021
States with the highest number of firearm deaths

It is worth noting that North Dakota, like other entries with extremely low death rates, has a noticeably smaller population than many others — and as such, this is still a high number of deaths per 100,000 residents. In fact, when one takes into consideration the total number of people in each state, ND has a greater average amount of individuals killed by guns per capita than even the highest-ranking states on the list.

In addition to just displaying numbers, USAFacts’ study also made note of several important statics regarding firearm-related incidents in the country — including how common firearm deaths became, the genders, races, and age groups most commonly associated with firearm deaths, and the numbers of suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths related to firearms. Below is a brief list of the most important takeaways from the remainder of the study.

  • Most firearm deaths in any given year are cases of suicide — in 2021, firearm suicides accounted for 54% of all gun deaths in the year. Homicide, meanwhile, accounted for 20,958 cases of death. All other categories of firearm death — including unintentional shootings, legal interventions, operations of war, and undetermined cases — accounts for less than 600 deaths a piece. Curiously, the number of firearm deaths in the US classified as unintentional has actually seen a tremendous decrease over time, from 1,871 in 1981 to only 549 in 2021.
  • While the number of people dying as a result of gun-related incidents increased in those of all ages from 2020 to 2021, more 20 to 34-year-olds die from firearms than any other age group — which is a fact that has remained consistent for decades. In 2021 alone, 20 to 34-year-olds accounted for 17,483 of the 48,830 firearm deaths nationwide — a total of 36%. In terms of age and the nature of a firearm-related death, people under 40 are more likely to be victims of homicide, and those above the age of 40 are more often cases of suicide.
  • More than twice as many Caucasian people were killed in firearm incidents in 2020 when compared to African Americans or Black individuals. However, when adjusting for the total population numbers, the annual age-adjusted death rate was 12 fatalities per 100,000 White people, and 33.9 per 100,000 Black people. This rate was 12.3 for Native American and Alaskan Natives, 9.3 for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, 2.9 for Asians or Pacific Islanders, and 7.3 for individuals of multiple races. Between 2012 and 2021, firearm fatalities also saw a massive 90% increase for African Americans and other Black individuals.
  • During the year in question, Six times more men than women died in firearm incidents. While men have seen a dramatic rise in fatality numbers since 1981 (rising from 28,343 to 41,866 in 2021), the number of female victims has only increased minimally over time (from 5,707 in 1981 to 6,964 in 2021).

In order to view the full study relating to firearm deaths in the US– including detailed graphs, infographics, and results for each state — visit this page on USAFacts’ website.