Youth Violence Statistics

Youth Violence statistics show teenagers are becoming more violent. This article contains facts and statistics on teen violence across the U.S., risk factors of teens becoming violent, and a profile of a violent child. Keep reading for more statistics on youth violence.

Youth Violence Statistics

Teen violence has become an increasing problem in the U.S. Teen violence and teen gang involvement escalated in the 1990s and has remained high. Youth are the most likely group to be victims or perpetrators of teen violence, but the results of teen violence affect everyone.  

Youth violence statistics show this is a serious problem:

  • An average of 15 young people are killed each day in the U.S., and over 80 percent of those are killed with guns. 
  • In 2004, violence statistics report 750,000 young people were treated in hospitals for violence-related injuries.
  • One third of high school students reported being involved in a fight at school in 2004, and 17 percent reported bringing a weapon to school in the month preceding the 2004 survey.
  • 1 in 12 teens in high school are injured or threatened with a weapon each year.
  • 30 percent of junior and senior high school students are involved in bullying each year as the victim, bully, or both.
  • According to a violence statistics report by the U.S. Secret Service, in the previous decade, the odds of a high school student being injured or threatened with a weapon were about 1 in 14, and the odds of a teen being in a physical fight were 1 in 7.

Youth violence can affect anyone, but some groups of teens are more at risk than others:

  • Violence statistics show youth between the ages of 12 and 24 are the most likely group to be victims of a violent crime.
  • Male teens are more likely to get into fights than females, and much more likely to die as a result of violence.
  • Among teens, homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans, the second leading cause for Latinos, and the third for Native Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
  • The numbers of non-fatal incidents of youth violence are about the same among all racial or ethnic groups. However, teen violence statistics report that young men from ethnic minorities, however, are the most likely group to be arrested for violent crimes.

There are some factors that make individual teens more likely to be involved in teen violence:

  • Teens who are involved in gangs or drugs are more likely to be the victims or perpetrators of teen violence than other teens.
  • The time just after school gets out is the most dangerous for teens, especially if that time is spent away from the supervision of responsible adults.
  • Teens who have trouble coping with problems in healthy ways are more likely to be involved in youth violence.
  • Violence statistics show exposure to violence or abuse increases a teen’s risk for involvement in violent behavior.
  • Teens without strong family ties, positive peer influences, or commitment to school are more at risk.
  • Guns are the most serious contributors to violent teen deaths; their presence makes a situation more likely to be deadly.

There is no single profile for a violent youth. Some teens with many risk factors do not resort to violence, and some violent teens do not have any obvious risk factors.

  • Teens from any racial or ethnic group can be perpetrators or victims of teen violence. 
  • Teen violence can begin during the teen years and taper off as the person gets older, or teen violence may start before the teen years and continue after the person is an adult.
  • Most teens with mental illnesses or histories of abuse do not become violent.
  • Students who have perpetrated attacks on their schools come from all racial backgrounds, levels of academic achievement, and social standings.

Youth violence statisitcs show that most schools are still relatively safe places for young people. Less than one percent of violence-related deaths occur at school. According to a report by the U.S. Secret Service, in the previous decade the odds of a high school student being killed at school were 1 in one million. Schools are more likely to be dangerous if they are senior high schools in urban environments, and minority groups in these environments are most at risk of being killed at school.

Youth are less likely to be involved in teen violence if they have learned nonviolent ways to solve problems, if they have strong family ties, and if they have goals and a commitment to school. Parents can help reduce the risk that their teens will be perpetrators or victims of violence if they talk to their teens every day and show that they care and want their teens to avoid violence and drug abuse. Parents should also know who their teens’ friends are and where their teens spend their time, and encourage their teens to be involved in positive activities.

Parents who are concerned about their teens should not hesitate to ask for help from a school counselor, medical professional, religious leader, or other trusted adult.


United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Mental Health Information Center, “What you Need to Know About Youth Violence Prevention,” 2002 [available online].
American Psychological Association, APA Help Center, “Warning Signs of Youth Violence” [available online].
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Violence: Fact Sheet [available online]
Vossekuil, B., Fein, R., Reddy, M., Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W.,
The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the
Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Program and U.S. Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center, Washington, D.C., 2002. [available online]  

Related Article: Violent Children Overview >>