Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Significant Rise in Firearm Homicide Rate: The rate increased nearly 35% from 2019 to 2020, affecting all ages and most population groups, with widening racial and ethnic disparities.
  2. Elevated Firearm Suicide Rate: In 2020, the firearm suicide rate surpassed the homicide rate, with some groups experiencing increases.
  3. Highest Rates in Decades: In 2021, the U.S. recorded the highest firearm homicide and suicide rates since 1993 and 1990, respectively.
  4. Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Non-Hispanic Black or African American persons had the highest firearm homicide rates, while non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons and non-Hispanic White persons had the highest firearm suicide rates in different age groups.
  5. Urgent Need for Prevention: The report highlights the critical need for comprehensive prevention strategies involving multiple sectors.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Thomas R. Simon

Suggested Citation

Simon TR, Kegler SR, Zwald ML, et al. Notes from the Field: Increases in Firearm Homicide and Suicide Rates — United States, 2020–2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1286–1287.


This MMWR article addresses the alarming increase in firearm-related homicides and suicides in the United States during 2020-2021. The analysis, using National Vital Statistics System mortality data and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, reveals the highest rates of these incidents in decades. The COVID-19 pandemic’s coinciding timing suggests potential exacerbation of pre-existing conditions and disparities.


The study utilized final 2020 and provisional 2021 mortality data, examining all-cause homicide and suicide rates, with specific attention to firearm-related incidents. It explored variations across sex, age, race, and ethnicity.


The report discusses systemic inequities and structural racism as contributing factors to the disparities observed in firearm-related violence. It notes that the pandemic may have intensified these conditions, particularly in certain racial and ethnic communities.


The record-high rates of firearm homicides and suicides in 2021 highlight the urgent need for targeted prevention efforts. The CDC advocates for a multi-sector approach, including public health, law enforcement, and community organizations, to implement evidence-based interventions for violence prevention.


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