[Visualization] More Americans have died from guns since 2001 than in Korean and Vietnam wars

More Americans have died from guns in the U.S. since the beginning of the 21st century than in Korean War and Vietnam Conflict: 164,089 homicides with a firearm in the United States between 2001-2014 vs. 94,794 deaths at war during those two conflicts. Including suicides committed with a firearm, these 14 years were as deadly as World War II for the Americans. This visualization is a simple contribution to the understanding of this reality.

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CC-BY-SA Data visualization freely reusable with a link to this post.

Facts

  • Since 2001, more Americans died accidentally from guns in the U.S. than on Afghan and Iraqi battlefields! (8,969 unintentional firearm-related deaths vs. 6,855 deaths at war)
  • Since the beginning of Afghanistan War, the absolute number of Americans dying from guns (homicides only) is 69.4 times higher in the U.S. than in Afghanistan. (164,089 homicides with a firearm in the U.S. vs. 2,363 deaths at war)
  • Ten years of firearm homicides in the U.S. is equivalent to all american deaths during WWI.
  • Including suicide, more Americans have died from guns since the beginning of the 21st century than on WWII battlefields.
  • Including suicide, “more Americans have died from guns in the U. S. since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history” (see below).

About the data

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This visualization is an update of the post “More Americans killed by guns since 1968 than in all U.S. wars” (2015). This post is still valid, but I wanted to produce a more precise overview.

In an article (08.2015), Louis Jacobson (@loujacobson) fact-checked the information published by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof). Reacting to the murder of two journalists in Virginia, Kristof cited the calculation set by Mark Shields three years ago on PBS: “since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in all the wars of this country’s history”. On politifact.com, Jacobson updated the figures and validated the assertion of Kristof. Based on a study of the Congressional Research Service and reports relating to most recent conflicts, he shows that 1,396,733 Americans were killed on the battlefields. Governmental reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths since 1968 (included suicides).

Note that the total displayed on the figure also includes the 362 deaths of the Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia and Haiti campaigns, not displayed as circles.