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Press release

The Health and Economic Impact of Youth Violence in the United States Reached $122 Billion in 2020

Ann Arbor | March 4, 2024

New research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine estimates the cost of homicides and nonfatal assaults of young people in the US

In 2020, the cost of youth violence in the United States was approximately $122 billion, according to new researchopens in new tab/window in the American Journal of Preventive Medicineopens in new tab/window, published by Elsevier. The study quantifies the economic toll of homicides and nonfatal assaults of young people ages 10–24 years, differentiating by injury mechanism (e.g., firearms, stabbings, and other methods). Youth homicide cost the US an estimated $86 billion, of which firearm homicides contributed $78 billion. Nonfatal assault injuries among youth cost $36 billion.

Lead investigator Elizabeth M. Parker, PhD, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, explains, “We lose young people to violence every day in this country. Violence is a leading cause of injury and death among American youth. It affects all types of communities across our country, causing pain and suffering to individuals, families, and communities. The high economic cost is an important measure of the widespread problem of youth violence. Understanding it helps us grasp the broader consequences of violence and the critical importance of violence prevention programs, policies, and practices. We hope identifying the economic implications of youth violence will encourage active engagement and contribute to building safer communities for all.”

The investigators used data from the CDC’s publicly available Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS)opens in new tab/window to analyze homicides and nonfatal assaults resulting in emergency department visits among youth ages 10–24 years in 2020, as well as analyze the average economic cost of those injuries. The estimate includes costs for medical care, lost work, and reduced quality of life but does not include costs to the criminal justice system.

The study segmented the data by the injury mechanism or cause (e.g., firearms, stabbings, etc.), which distinguishes it from other recent research on youth violence. Injuries from firearms and stabbing accounted for 96% of youth homicides.

The findings highlight the importance of developing and implementing programs to address risk factors and prevent youth violence.

Dr. Parker adds, “Youth violence is preventable. We know there are strategies that work to prevent violence and ease the pain, suffering, and economic burden associated with youth nonfatal assault and homicide. CDC developed Resources for Action that describe strategies with the best available evidence to help communities and states focus their violence prevention efforts to ensure safer and healthier communities for all.”

These evidence-based approaches include but are not limited to, early childhood home visitation programs, preschool enrichment with family engagement, mentoring or after-school programs, street outreach, and community norm change campaigns.

Notes for editors

The article is “The Health and Economic Impact of Youth Violence by Injury Mechanism,” by Elizabeth M. Parker, PhD, Likang Xu, MD, Ashley D’Inverno, PhD, Tadesse Haileyesus, MS, and Cora Peterson, PhD ( in new tab/window).It appears online in advance of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, volume 66, issue 5 (May 2024), published by Elsevier.

The article is openly available at in new tab/window.

Full text of this article is also available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Jillian B. Morgan at +1 734 936 1590 or [email protected]opens in new tab/window. Journalists wishing to interview the authors should contact [email protected]opens in new tab/window.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

The American Journal of Preventive Medicineopens in new tab/window is the official journal of the American College of Preventive Medicineopens in new tab/window and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Researchopens in new tab/window. It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy. Original research is published on interventions aimed at the prevention of chronic and acute disease and the promotion of individual and community health. The journal features papers that address the primary and secondary prevention of important clinical, behavioral and public health issues such as injury and violence, infectious disease, women's health, smoking, sedentary behaviors and physical activity, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Papers also address educational initiatives aimed at improving the ability of health professionals to provide effective clinical prevention and public health services. The journal also publishes official policy statements from the two co-sponsoring organizations, health services research pertinent to prevention and public health, review articles, media reviews, and editorials. www.ajpmonline.orgopens in new tab/window

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

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Jillian B. Morgan

MPH, Managing Editor AJPM

+1 734 936 1590

E-mail Jillian B. Morgan