Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. SD 2.2 Weapon Carrying Among High School Youth

01/01/2000

Weapon carrying is associated with the most serious injuries resulting from violence. Carrying a weapon significantly increases the risk that a violent argument will result in death, disability, or other serious injury.20

Since 1991, the percentage of students who report carrying a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club at least once in the past month has declined; for example, in 1999, 17 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported carrying a weapon, compared with 26 percent in 1991 (see Table SD 2.2A).

Differences by Age. In general, students in the lower grades are more likely than students in the upper grades to carry a weapon. In 1999, 18 percent of 9th graders reported having carried a weapon in the past 30 days, compared with 16 percent of 12th graders.

Differences by Gender. High school males are much more likely than females to carry a weapon. This is true across all grades and for all racial and ethnic groups (see Figure SD 2.2.A); for example, in 1999, 29 percent of males in grades 9 through 12 reported carrying a weapon, compared with 7 percent of females.

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin.21 In 1999, 16 percent of white, 17 percent of black, and 19 percent of Hispanic students reported having carried a weapon. For white and black students, these represent reductions from 1991 rates of 25 and 33 percent, respectively.

Youth Who Report Carrying a Gun. The number of students who reported carrying a gun at some time in the past 30 days declined significantly between 1993 and 1999. In 1999, 5 percent of high school students reported having carried a gun, including 12 percent of black students, 8 percent of Hispanic students, and 4 percent of white students (see Table SD 2.2.B).

 

20 Public Health Service. 1993. Measuring the Health Behavior of Adolescents: The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and Recent Public Health Reports on High-Risk Adolescents. Public Health Reports 108 (Supp. 1). Rockville, MD.
21 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.

 

Table SD 2.2.A Percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 in the United States who reported having carried a weapona at least once within the past 30 days, by gender, grade, and race and Hispanic origin: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1999

  1991 1993 1995 1997 1999
  Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female
Total 26 41 11 22 34 9 20 31 8 18 28 7 17 29 6
Grade  
Ninth 28 44 10 26 39 11 23 34 9 23 33 11 18 29 7
Tenth 27 42 11 21 33 10 21 32 9 17 27 6 19 31 5
Eleventh 29 44 13 22 33 9 20 32 8 18 29 6 16 27 5
Twelfth 21 33 10 20 33 7 16 26 6 15 23 5 16 27 5
Race and Hispanic originb  
White 25 41 8 21 33 7 19 31 6 17 27 4 16 29 4
Black 33 43 24 29 38 19 22 30 16 22 29 15 17 23 12
Hispanic 26 40 13 24 37 12 25 37 13 23 35 10 19 30 8

a Students were asked whether they carried a weapon “such as a gun, knife, or club” on at least one of the 30 days preceding the survey.
b Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1990-1991 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), Table 2, p. 68; Kann et al., 44 (SS-1), 45 (SS-4), 47 (SS-3), Table 4 in each.

 

Figure SD 2.2.A Percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 in the United States who reported having carried a weapon a at least once within the past 30 days, by gender and by raceb and Hispanic origin: 1999

a Students were asked whether they carried a weapon “such as a gun, knife, or club” on at least one of the 30 days preceding the survey.
b Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Source: Kann, et al., 1998, Table 4, p. 38.

 

Table SD 2.2.B Percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 in the United States who reported having carried a gun at least once within the past 30 days, by gender, grade, and race and Hispanic origin: 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1999

  1993 1995 1997 1999
  Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female
Total 8 14 2 8 12 3 6 10 2 5 9 1
Grade  
Ninth 9 16 2 9 14 3 8 13 3 5 10 1
Tenth 9 15 2 8 13 3 6 10 1 5 10 1
Eleventh 7 13 1 7 12 1 6 9 1 4 7 1
Twelfth 7 12 1 6 11 2 5 8 1 5 8 1
Race and Hispanic origina  
White 7 12 1 6 10 2 4 7 1 4 8 1
Black 12 21 4 11 19 4 9 16 3 8 15 2
Hispanic 10 17 3 11 17 5 10 17 2 5 8 2

a Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Source: Kann et al., 1995, 44 (SS-1), Table 4, p. 23; Kann et al., 1996 45 (SS-4), Table 4, p. 32; Kann et al., 1998, 47 (SS-3), Table 4, p. 38.

 

Figure SD 2.2.B Percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 in the United States who reported having carried a gun at least once within the past 30 days, by gender and by race and Hispanic origin a: 1999

a Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Source: Kann et al., 1998, Table 4, p. 38.

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