Gun violence and public health

Firearm statistics: Local, state, and national

Gun violence is a health care issue; it’s “a leading cause of premature death in the U.S.,” according to the American Public Health Association

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes firearm violence as having a “tremendous impact on America’s overall safety and wellbeing,” recommending a “public health approach” to mitigate its effect. 

It’s clear that firearm violence could result in death or physical injury of varying degrees, but “long-term, often-hidden, costs of firearm injuries include worse mental health, substance use disorders, and higher health care spending for survivors as well as increased mental health disorders for their significant others and children.”

The following statistics look at gun violence and related statistics in the Cincinnati region, in Ohio, and in the U.S.

Firearm incidents and poverty in Cincinnati

239 incidents in Cincinnati (as of Sept. 11, 2023):

  • 24 in the West End
  • 23 in Over-the-Rhine
  • 17 in Roselawn
  • 15 in Westwood
  • 12 in West Price Hill

Corresponding rates of poverty in these neighborhoods:

  • West End: 47.4%
  • Over-the-Rhine: 40%
  • Roselawn: 33.6%
  • Westwood: 26.9%
  • West Price Hill: 22%

While there isn’t a one-to-one correspondence between rankings of neighborhood poverty rates and gun violence incidents (there are neighborhoods with higher poverty rates that have fewer gun violence incidents), it’s important to note that the Cincinnati neighborhoods with the most gun violence incidents also have significantly higher than average poverty rates. 

The percentage of Ohioans living in poverty (in 2021) was reported as 13.4%.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, that’s no coincidence. Research has consistently linked gun violence and poverty. 

Breaking down gun ownership

Pew Research Center shared results of a survey completed this summer, which includes the following demographic information about gun ownership in the U.S.:

  • 45% of people who identify as Republican (or Republican-leaning) own guns, as compared to 20% of Democrats (or Democrat-leaning) individuals
  • 25% of women own guns, in contrast to 40% of men
  • The number of people who own guns decreases as the population increases (rural: 47%, suburban: 30%, urban: 20%)
  • White people own most guns, with 38% indicated they own [a] firearm[s], as compared to 24% of Black people, 20% of Latinx people, and 10% of Asian Americans

How many guns are there?

The United States has more firearms in civilian possession than any other country in the world, with 120.5 firearms per 100 people. Only a fraction of those firearms are registered.

As of 2021, there were 208,661 registered firearms in Ohio. With 11.78 million people living in Ohio in 2021, that seems considerably less than the national average—but it’s important to consider that this statistic refers only to registered firearms. 

Gun violence is a divisive issue about which many Americans feel strongly. It’s also social determinant of health that has the potential to affect everyone living in the U.S.

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