alanj: (Default)
[personal profile] alanj
Please answer the earlier poll first; I am really curious what people's initial guesses are on this.

Firearm homicide statistics source: http://ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezashr/
Motor vehicle fatalities sources: http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx http://www.saferoads.org/federal/2004/TrafficFatalities1899-2003.pdf
US population source: http://www.multpl.com/united-states-population/table

1981: Population 229M, 14058 firearm homicides (61.4 per 1M), 49301 motor vehicle deaths (215.3 per 1M)
1991: Population 253M, 16378 firearm homicides (64.7 per 1M), 41508 motor vehicle deaths (164.1 per 1M)
2001: Population 285M, 10112 firearm homicides (35.5 per 1M), 42196 motor vehicle deaths (148.1 per 1M)
2010: Population 309M, 9936 firearm homicides (32.1 per 1M), 32885 motor vehicle deaths (106.4 per 1M)

So, our answers are:
- There are currently about 3.3 motor vehicle deaths per firearm homicide
- The firearm homicide rate in 1991 was almost exactly double what it was in 2010
- The motor vehicle death rate was a little over 50% higher in 1991 than it was in 2010

I guessed "about 10:1" for motor vehicle deaths being more common, which was way off. One of my friends guessed motor vehicles by "10:1 or 20:1", and another guessed firearm homicides were more common by a ratio of 3:2 or 5:3. People answering the poll were also way off on this one.

I got the decrease in firearm homicide rate about right, but I guessed that the motor vehicle death rate had dropped more than it had, I guessed that it'd dropped by 1/2 rather than 1/3. The number of vehicle-miles travelled per capita has increased (from about 8600 to about 9600), and that hadn't occurred to me. Also, the lowest-hanging fruit, widespread seatbelt adoption, saw its greatest gains in the 80s; the motor vehicle death rate *has* dropped in half if you go 10 years further back to 1981.
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February 2013

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