A Comparison of Juvenile Murder Trends in the U.S. and Canada

Paul Harms, National Center for Juvenile Justice
Stephen Mihorean, Department of Justice Canada

This paper will compare the Canadian and U.S. juvenile murder rates between 1980 and 1999 to develop a better understanding of each. Initial findings show that the U.S. juvenile murder rate increased between 1985 and 1993 and then decreased through 1999 while the Canadian rate remained essentially constant. The overall U.S. juvenile murder rate was three times the Canadian rate during this period; this ratio was higher for male juveniles (3.6) than for female juveniles (1.9). U.S. and Canadian juvenile murder rates were most similar for juveniles under age 13. The highest overall juvenile murder rate in Canada was for infants under age 1, while in the U.S. the highest rate was for juveniles age 17. While the proportion of U.S. juveniles murdered with firearms increased from less than 40% in the early 1980s to about 61% in 1992, this proportion remained about 20% in Canada throughout the period. A greater proportion of murder victims under age 2 were killed by parents in Canada (82%) than in the U.S. (69%).

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Updated 05/20/2006