Data

Homicide rate

UNODC

What you should know about this indicator

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime collates homicide data from two main resources: 1) primarily data from national law enforcement and criminal justice authorities, 2) civil registry data from WHO-MD and national authorities

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Intentional Homicide data are sourced from either criminal justice or public health systems. In the former, data are generated by law enforcement or criminal justice authorities in the process of recording and investigating a crime event, whereas in the latter, data are produced by health authorities certifying the cause of death of an individual.

The criminal justice data was collected from national authorities with the annual United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS). National focal points working in national agencies responsible for statistics on crime and the criminal justice system and nominated by the Permanent Mission to UNODC are responsible for compiling the data from the other relevant agencies before transmitting the UN-CTS to UNODC. Following the submission, UNODC checks for consistency and coherence with other data sources.

Data on homicide from public health sources were primarily obtained from the WHO Mortality Database.10 This dataset is a comprehensive collection of mortality data by cause of death, sex, and age group conducted yearly by the WHO with Member States. Deaths coded with Internatioanl Classification of Disease (ICD10) codes X85-Y09 (injuries inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill), and ICD10 code Y87.1 (sequelae of assault), generally correspond to the definition of intentional homicide

The population data used to calculate homicide rates is sourced from the World Population Prospect, Population Division, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The statistical definition contains three elements that characterize the killing of a person as “intentional homicide”:

  1. The killing of a person by another person (objective element).

  2. The intent of the perpetrator to kill or seriously injure the victim (subjective element).

  3. The unlawfulness of the killing (legal element).

For recording purposes, all killings that meet the criteria listed above are to be considered intentional homicides, irrespective of definitions provided by national legislations or practices. Killings as a result of terrorist activities are also to be classified as a form of intentional homicide.

In order to compile consistent time series of total homicides back to 1990, in several cases data from multiple sources were combined to expand the number of available years within a country’s time series. Time series adjustments were performed when a country had two sources coveringdifferent year-ranges, which had very similar trends in an overlapping time period, but where these trends were at different levels.

The countries for which adjusted series for total homicide counts prior to the year 2000 have been produced were the following: Belgium, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and United Kingdom.

Homicide rate UNODC
The homicide rate per 100,000 population recorded in a year.
Source
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2023) – with minor processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
July 4, 2023
Date range
1990–2021
Unit
homicides per 100,000 people

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2023)

Data published by

UNODC (2022), UNODC Research, Data Portal, Intentional Homicide. https://dataunodc.un.org/dp-intentional-homicide-victims

Retrieved on
July 4, 2023

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“Data Page: Homicide rate”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2023). Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rate-unodc [online resource]
How to cite this data

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2023) – with minor processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2023) – with minor processing by Our World in Data. “Homicide rate – UNODC” [dataset]. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2023) [original data]. Retrieved June 23, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rate-unodc