CHICAGO (AP) — Children in the most rural areas of the United States are as likely to die by gunshot as kids in the biggest cities, a new analysis of nearly 24,000 deaths finds.
Not surprisingly, murders involving firearms are more common among city youth. But gun suicides and accidental fatal shootings level the score: They are more common among rural kids.
"This debunks the myth that firearm death is a big-city problem," said lead author Dr. Michael Nance of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This is everybody's problem."
The researchers analyzed data on nearly 24,000 gun-related deaths among children 19 and younger from 1999 through 2006. That included about 15,000 homicides, about 7,000 suicides and about 1,400 accidental shootings for the eight-year period.
The researchers sorted them by county then compared the gun death rates for the most urban counties— those with populations of 1 million or more, like Dallas County in Texas — and the most rural counties — the ones far from cities or with fewer than 2,500 people, like Powder River County in Montana. They found essentially the same rate, about 4 deaths per 100,000 children.