42 Percent of African-Americans Know a Victim of Gun Violence

Sixty-two percent of us worry that one day it might be us. 

Posted: 03/01/2013 10:31 AM EST

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre and the national dialogue around gun violence in urban cities such as Chicago, a new study has found that gun violence affects many of us. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed more than 1,200 Americans and found that 20 percent of Americans (1 in 5) knows a person who has been a victim of gun violence. The authors wrote, “Among those who know a victim, a majority (62 percent) say these were good friends or family members, and some were even a victim themselves.”

But, when looking at certain factors, those numbers are even higher.

Forty-two percent of African-Americans knew someone who had been shot — that’s more than double the general population. Twenty-eight percent of young people ages 18-29 reported knowing someone, while 24 percent of people living in urban areas did as well. Older men (30-49) and Latinos were slightly behind with 21 percent. People who live in rural areas (16 percent), whites (15 percent) and people over 65 (12 percent) had the lowest rates of being familiar with anyone being shot.

While all of the findings are eye opening, one in particular really stood out.

Yes, poverty is a risk factor for gun violence, but that doesn’t mean that the wealthy are immune. Twenty-one percent of people in households that made under $40,000 knew of someone who had been a victim of gun violence, the exact same percentage as households that made $90,000 or more.

The poll also found that when it comes to gun violence, Latinos and Blacks worry the most: 75 percent of Latinos were afraid compared to 62 percent of African-Americans. And honestly, we have a lot to be worried about.

A 2012 report found that African-American youth ages 15-19 are eight times more likely to be victims of gun violence than white youth and that gun violence is their number one cause of death.

Watch BET.com’s "Murder to Excellence: Life & Hip-Hop in Chicago," a two-part video about gun violence here. 

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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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