Black People Are 12 Times More Likely To Die In America Than In Other Developed Countries

The tragic events that unfolded Wednesday evening at the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina served as yet another reminder that race relations in America are rapidly deteriorating.

Although it might be fair to say that this week's church massacre is a separate and distinct event that can be better understood as an act of domestic terrorism or as a hate crime than as another example of the marginalization of African Americans, we would be remiss if we didn't mention it in the context of Baltimore, Ferguson, and the death of Eric Garner and Walter Scott. 

Indeed, Wednesday's shooting and the subsequent arrest of a white male suspect who appears to have sympathized with White Supremacist ideologies will likely lead to still more scrutiny on what certainly appears to be a widening racial divide in America. 

In this context, we bring you the following graphic which shows that, among countries with relatively high Human Development Index scores (which measure social welfare and standard of living), the number of African Americans killed per 100,000 people in the US each year is around 12 times the average for all people in developed countries.

More from FiveThirtyEight:

Extending on an analysis by the academic Kieran Healy, I calculated the rate of U.S. homicide deaths by racial group, based on the CDC WONDER data.3 From 2010 through 2012, the annual rate of homicide deaths among non-Hispanic white Americans was 2.5 per 100,000 persons, meaning that about one in every 40,000 white Americans is a homicide victim each year. By comparison, the rate of homicide deaths among non-Hispanic black Americans is 19.4 per 100,000 persons, or about 1 in 5,000 people per year.


Black Americans are almost eight times as likely as white ones to be homicide victims, in other words.


So for white Americans, the homicide death rate is not so much of an outlier. It’s only modestly higher than in Finland, Belgium or Greece, for instance, and lower than in Chile or Latvia.


But there’s no other highly industrialized country with a homicide death rate similar to the one black Americans experience. Their homicide death rate, 19.4 per 100,000 persons, is about 12 times higher than the average rate among all people4 in other developed countries.


Instead, you’d have to look toward developing countries such as Mexico (22.0), Brazil (23.6), Nigeria (20.0), Rwanda (23.1) or Myanmar (15.2) to find a comparable rate.