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Why Is the United States the Most Homicidal Nation in the Affluent World?

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2013
10 pages
Based on historical and sociological research, this presentation examines why the United States is the most homicidal nation in the world.
At a homicide rate of approximately 5 per 100,000 population the United States by far has the highest homicide rate among affluent nations. This is a rate that has been fairly stable since 2000. After examining the various historical, sociological, economic, and political factors operative in the United States, the presenter has concluded that political stability is a critical factor related to homicide rates in the United States. He argues that feelings and beliefs toward government drive homicide rates more than the economy, policing, or imprisonment. Homicide rates decline when there is a feeling of confidence in government and the politicians and officials who run the government. Another aspect of political stability is empathy, i.e., a feeling of kinship with other members of society in a climate of racial, religious, or political solidarity. The feeling that one's self and others are valued members of society provides an emotional stability that diminishes aggression. The implication of this finding is that America's current high homicide rate is due to prevalent feelings of instability, alienation, and dissatisfaction with social interactions among groups, government policymaking, and socioeconomic status and well-being. Questions from the audience and response from the presenter are included in this transcript, and a link is provided to a video of the presentation.

Date Published: December 1, 2013