Latin America, Middle East Deadliest Place for Teens

November 9, 2017 – Adolescents in Middle Eastern and Latin American countries stand the greatest risk of a violent death, according to a new report from the UN children’s agency.

More than half of the 51,000 teenage homicides globally occur in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela while adolescents are killed from conflict and civil war in the Middle East at a rate higher than all other regions combined, with the greatest burden on Iraq and Syria.

Overall, there were 89,000 adolescents violently killed last year, or one death every seven minutes.

For boys, the risk of dying violently is highest in Colombia, El Salvador, Iraq, Syria and Venezuela while for girls the risk is highest in Syria, Iraq, Honduras as well as Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Sex and race distinctions put some groups of teens at a higher risk. For example, the rate of homicides among teenage boys is four times greater than that of girls and teenage boys are far more likely to be killed by a stranger.

Teenage girls on the other hand have a far greater risk of being killed by a family member. Globally, almost 50 percent of female homicides are perpetrated by family or intimate partners compared with six percent for males.

In the United States, African-American teenage boys are 19 times more likely to be a victim of a homicide than all other races. If the rate of homicides for Black teenagers in the U.S. was applied nationwide, the United States would be among the ten deadliest places for teenagers.

Teenage girls stand a far higher risk of sexual violence than boys but the authors note that limited data on sexual violence and boys constrains their understanding of the full extent of the problem. Worldwide, some 9 million girls aged between 15-19 were the victims of rape last year.

The full report is here.

– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz