This article is a part of East-West Gateway’s (EWG) Where We Stand series, which ranks St. Louis among the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas (referred to as the peer regions) on topics of regional importance.
In 2017, the St. Louis region recorded the highest percentage of firearm homicides among the peer regions with 348 (91.3 percent) of 381 murders committed by someone using a firearm. For the United States, the proportion was 74.5 percent.
St. Louis is joined at the top of the rankings on this metric with many of the Midwest and South peer regions. These regions also tend to have the highest total homicide rates.
Nationally, in St. Louis, and in most of the peer regions the proportion of homicides that involved firearms increased over the past two decades, with a substantial increase in more recent years. For the country as a whole, from 1999 to 2017, the percentage of victims killed by someone with a gun increased 10.4 percentage points. Over this time period, the overall homicide rate has remained around 6 deaths per 100,000 population.
In the St. Louis region, the firearm homicide proportion increased more rapidly than that of the United States, as did the total homicide rate. The proportion of homicides that involved a firearm increased 24.4 percentage points. The change in the overall homicide rate mirrored this trend. Overall, the homicide rate increased from 8.6 homicides per 100,000 population in 1999 to 13.6 in 2017.
About Where We Stand
Since 1992, EWG has produced Where We Stand to ignite discussion and help guide decision making on a range of topics important to the region. The Where We Stand series presents rankings for St. Louis among the 50 most populous metropolitan areas in the United States. The eighth edition (released in November 2018), data. updates, white papers, and past editions are available at www.ewgateway.org/wws. You can also subscribe to the WWS email list for future updates.