The study analyzed data from Philadelphia, which has the highest firearm homicide rate nationwide, and the three most populous cities in the U.S: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
The researchers, who used standard practices of statistical modeling, found that firearm assaults among people 18 and younger nearly doubled from 2015 to 2021, from nearly nine children per 100,000 to nearly 17 children per 100,000. The dataset included both fatal and nonfatal shootings for every city except Chicago (for which data on nonfatal injuries among children was not available).
Among non-Hispanic white children, there was no increase in shootings. Black children saw the most significant increase, from 27 children per 100,000 to 34. The Black-white disparity grew from a relative risk of 25 percent to 100 percent; the Hispanic-white disparity tripled; and the disparity between Asian and white children nearly tripled.
“These stats are astonishing, but not surprising. The number is quite high, but it is very consistent with what we see on the frontlines,” said Dr. Chethan Sathya, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Northwell Health in New York. “Last year, we saw a 350 percent increase at our children’s hospital of kids coming in with bullet wounds. The majority of those children are Black children.”