As the United States grapples with yet another mass shooting, this time at a bar in California, the annual University of Washington report comparing U.S. gun violence with rates in other countries was released on Thursday — and it revealed that America’s problem with gun violence is worse than that of Iraq and Syria.
> As in previous years, the University of Washington's latest data indicate that this level of gun violence in a well-off country is a particularly American phenomenon.
> When you consider countries with the top indicators of socioeconomic success — income per person and average education level, for instance — the United States is bested by just 18 nations, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada and Japan.
> Those countries all also enjoy low rates of gun violence. But the U.S. has the 28th-highest rate in the world: 4.43 deaths due to gun violence per 100,000 people in 2017. That was nine times as high as the rate in Canada, which had 0.47 deaths per 100,000 people — and 29 times as high as in Denmark, which had 0.15 deaths per 100,000.
But even when comparing the rate of gun violence in America with lesser developed countries, the numbers are often stark.
While the U.S. does not have the highest rate across the globe, it nevertheless stands out when saddled up next the likes of Iraq and Syria.
After factoring out casualties due to war, NPR noted that the report shows Iraq and Syria have gun violence rates of 3.54 and 0.99 per 100,000 people, respectively.
> "It is a little surprising that a country like ours should have this level of gun violence," Ali Mokdad, a professor of global health and epidemiology at the [University's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation], told NPR in an interview last year. "If you compare us to other well-off countries, we really stand out."
> To be sure, there are quite a few countries where gun violence is a substantially larger problem than in the United States — particularly in Central America and the Caribbean. Mokdad said a major driver is the large presence of gangs and drug trafficking. "The gangs and drug traffickers fight among themselves to get more territory, and they fight the police," said Mokdad. And citizens who are not involved are often caught in the crossfire. Another country with widespread gun violence is Venezuela, which has been grappling with political unrest and an economic meltdown.
Still, U.S. gun-related violence is higher than that of most countries in East, Southeast and South Asia; North Africa And the Middle East; and Sub-Saharan Africa.
> One more way to consider these data: The institute also estimates what it would expect a country's rate of gun violence deaths to be based solely on its socioeconomic status. By that measure, the U.S. should be seeing only 0.46 deaths per 100,000 people. Instead, its actual rate of 4.43 deaths per 100,000 is almost 10 times as high.