Comparing assault death rates in the US to other advanced democracies

October 2, 2017
By

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

In an effort to provide context to the frequent mass shootings in the United States, Kieran Healy (Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University) created this updated chart comparing assault death rates in the US to that of 23 other advanced democracies. The chart shows the rate (per 100,000 citizens) of death caused by assaults (stabbings, gunshots, etc. by a third party). Assaults are used rather than gun deaths specifically, as that's the only statistic for which readily comparable data is available. The data come from the OECD Health Status Database through 2015, the most recent complete year available.

Assault-deaths-oecd-ts-1960-2015

The goal of this chart is to "set the U.S. in some kind of longitudinal context with broadly comparable countries", and to that end OECD countries Estonia and Mexico are not included. (Estonia suffered a spike of violence in the mid-90's, and Mexico has been embroiled in drug violence for decades. See the chart with Estonia and Mexico included here.) Healy provides a helpful FAQ justifying this decision and other issues related to the data and their presentation.

Healy used the R language (and, specifically the ggplot2 graphics package) to create this chart, and the source code is available on Github.

For more context around this chart follow the link below, and also his prior renderings and commentary related to the same data through 2013 and through 2010.

Kieran Healy: Assault deaths to 2015

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Revolutions.

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