NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Racial Divide In Domestic Violence Deaths Puzzles Experts

May 18, 2000

The number of spouses or intimate partners killed in the U.S. has declined overall, and it has declined among black couples; but it has risen among white couples. Statistics show that fewer black women are killing their black male spouses or boyfriends. But more white men are killing their white women partners. The news has left experts puzzled.

  • Overall, the number of people killed by their intimate partners declined to 1,830 in 1998 from about 3,000 in 1976, the Justice Department study said.
  • Over the last two decades, the number of killings of black men by their black women partners fell 74 percent.
  • But 876 white women were killed by their husbands and boyfriends in 1998 -- up slightly from 849 in 1976.
  • Black women in 1998 were victims of domestic killings at a rate of 4.5 per 100,000 -- compared with 1.75 per 100,000 among white women.

The number of black women killed by their partners dropped 45 percent in the last two decades, while the number of white men killed declined 44 percent. The number of white women killed by partners rose 3 percent.

Source: Fox Butterfield, "Study Shows a Racial Divide in Domestic Violence Cases," New York Times, May 18, 2000.


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