Global homicide rates

Last month The Guardian published a table of global homicide rates by country provided by the UN. The year covered is 2004 (in some cases the figures are averages of two or three years around 2004). The Guardian’s list is in alphabetical order. I converted the text into a table and sorted the homicide rates in descending order to make the list easier to follow.

Of the 28 countries with a homicide rate of over 20 per 100,000, 23 are black. Of the five exceptions, three are Latin American: Colombia, El Salvador (which is the second most murderous country on earth), and Venezuela, the other two being Russia and the Philippines.

Of the 44 countries with homicide rates between 10 and 20 per 100,000, 29 are black or largely black. Of the remaining 15, listed below, seven are Latin American, and the other eight stretch across Asia.

North Korea
Puerto Rico
Papua New Guinea
East Timor

The biggest shock is North Korea, with 18.9. It’s a totalitarian country, the most controlled country on earth, how is such a high homicide rate possible? South Korea by contrast has a rate of 2.2

Here’s a puzzle. Scotland, listed separately from England and Wales, has a rate of 2.6, while England and Wales have a rate of 1.6. How is that possible? Presumably there is higher percentage of violence-prone minorities in England than in Scotland.

Here’s another surprise, among the countries with the lowest rate, under 2 per 100,000 several are North African countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria.

Homicides per 100,000 pop

Colombia 61.1
El Salvador 56.4
Cote d’Ivoire 45.7
South Africa 39.5
Lesotho 37.3
Angola 36
Burundi 35.4
Congo, the Dem Rep of the 35.2
Sierra Leone 34
Jamaica 33.7
Venezuela 32.5
Brazil 30.8
Belize 30.1
Russian Federation 29.7
Central African Rep 29.1
Sudan 28.6
Rwanda 26.6
Guatemala 26.3
Tanzania 26.1
Equatorial Guinea 24
Zambia 22.9
Saint Kitts and Nevis 22.7
Bahamas 22.5
Botswana 21.5
Saint Lucia 21.3
Philippines 21
Mozambique 20.2
Niger 20.2
Ethiopia 19.3
Guyana 19.2
Chad 19
Korea, north 18.9
Puerto Rico 18.9
Congo 18.8
Cambodia 18.5
Burkina Faso 18.1
Malawi 18
Mali 18
Paraguay 17.8
Nigeria 17.7
Nicaragua 17.4
Guinea 17.3
Gabon 17.1
Dominican Rep 16.8
Ecuador 16.8
Liberia 16.8
Guinea-Bissau 16.3
Cameroon 16.1
Saint Vincent—Grenadines 16
Eritrea 15.9
Burma 15.7
Mauritania 15.2
Papua New Guinea 15.2
Barbados 15.1
Senegal 14.2
Honduras 13.8
Togo 13.7
Trinidad and Tobago 13.7
Gambia 13.5
Panama 13.4
Mongolia 13.1
Namibia 12.8
Benin 12.7
Swaziland 12.7
Kazakhstan 11.9
Suriname 11.8
East Timor 11.7
Madagascar 11.7
Ghana 11.6
Mexico 10.9
Cape Verde 10.7
Dominica 10.3
Nauru 9.9
Comoros 9.3
Lithuania 9.1
Indonesia 8.9
Latvia 8.6
Zimbabwe 8.4
Anguilla 8.3
Belarus 8.3
Thailand 8.2
Kyrgyzstan 8.1
Ukraine 8
Turkmenistan 7.8
Antigua and Barbuda 7.7
Costa Rica 7.3
Uganda 7.3
Moldova 7.2
Sri Lanka 7.2
Turkey 6.9
Estonia 6.7
Iraq 6.7
Kenya 6.7
Albania 6.6
Kiribati 6.5
Georgia 6.2
Cuba 6
USA 5.9
Chile 5.5
India 5.5
Lao People’s Dem. Rep 5.4
Sao Tome and Principe 5.4
Argentina 5.3
Bolivia 5.3
Haiti 5.3
Grenada 4.9
Uruguay 4.7
Bhutan 4.3
Palestinian Terr 4
Viet Nam 3.8
Montenegro 3.6
Pakistan 3.6
Djibouti 3.5
Seychelles 3.5
Uzbekistan 3.5
Afghanistan 3.4
Somalia 3.3
Saudi Arabia 3.2
Bulgaria 3.1
Monaco 3.1
Peru 3
Iran 2.9
Libya 2.9
Liechtenstein 2.9
Switzerland 2.9
Finland 2.8
Israel 2.6
Scotland 2.6
Armenia 2.5
Mauritius 2.5
Yemen 2.5
Azerbaijan 2.4
Lebanon 2.4
Macedonia 2.4
Northern Ireland 2.4
Romania 2.4
Tajikistan 2.4
Bangladesh 2.3
Slovakia 2.3
China 2.2
Czech Rep 2.2
Korea, south 2.2
Belgium 2.1
Hungary 2.1
Maldives 2.1
Nepal 2.1
Oman 2.1
Croatia 2
Malaysia 2
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.8
Cyprus 1.8
Marshall Islands 1.8
Malta 1.7
Poland 1.7
Tunisia 1.7
England & Wales 1.6
France 1.6
Canada 1.5
New Zealand 1.5
Slovenia 1.5
Solomon Islands 1.5
Algeria 1.4
Andorra 1.4
Brunei Darussalam 1.4
Kuwait 1.4
Netherlands 1.4
Portugal 1.4
Serbia 1.4
Australia 1.3
Italy 1.2
Jordan 1.2
Spain 1.2
Sweden 1.2
Syria 1.2
Bermuda 1.1
Denmark 1.1
Ireland 1.1
Samoa 1.1
Bahrain 1
Germany 1
Greece 1
Iceland 1
Tonga 1
Vanuatu 1
Micronesia 0.9
Palau 0.9
Norway 0.8
Qatar 0.8
Austria 0.7
Egypt 0.7
Fiji 0.7
United Arab Emirates 0.7
Hong Kong 0.6
Japan 0.5
Morocco 0.5
Singapore 0.5
Luxembourg 0.4

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

I’m skeptical of the accuracy of a list like this because I imagine that in the most backward countries, such as Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Zimbabwe, no meaningful records are kept. I think a country has to have a reasonably high level of organization before it can compile accurate statistics.

LA replies:

I didn’t look further into how the figures were derived. But I felt this simple, accessible list of all countries on earth was of sufficient interest to warrant posting.

Ron K. writes:

Even without the date given, you can tell this list is a few years old. Colombia has six times the violent crime of Mexico? Not now! Colombia’s drug war has subsided dramatically, while Mexico’s is in full swing. Look for them to trade places on the 2009 list—due about 2013.

The “northern scoop” (as opposed to Southern Cone) of South America is, depending on the area, heavily mestizo, heavily mulatto, or, as in Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, heavily both. Why wouldn’t they lead the world?

Scotland’s (relatively) high rate isn’t the oddity on this list, but Ireland’s low one. Celts have historically been more violent than Saxons, at least on the individual level. I’m sure the Welsh work just as hard as the minorities to lift the rate of “England and Wales.” Perhaps Ireland is exporting her violent types, to Ulster, Scotland, England, here. (Cf. “Boy” George O’Dowd.) Also, I’d read somewhere that Scotland’s murder rate is seven times that of England’s.

Those who yammer on about how we lead the “industrialized” world in murder (that’s code for “white,” with a token rich Asian land or two), need to look at Russia, Brazil, and South Africa. Each of those countries has more murders than the U.S., and each has fewer people. Indeed, their combined population isn’t much greater than America’s. They have plenty of industry.

North Africa’s low rates may be due to tight family structure—though that’s much tighter in the Gulf, excepting guest workers (no guest workers in the Maghreb!)—or simply to systematic lying. I once looked at a similar list for the 1970s compiled by Interpol. The standout there? Togo. Togo reported no crime whatsoever! I’m glad the current Togolese government is more honest.

As always, this list restricts itself to civilian crime. That’s dishonest. For a century now, over 90 percent of murders have been committed by the state.

Van Wijk writes:

The fact that the United States is far down the list at 5.9 is very illuminating, especially since we probably have more firearms per capita than any other nation. Control our homicide rates for race, and your average white, armed American would probably be among the least homicidal worldwide.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 11, 2009 09:52 PM | Send

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