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Violence

Narrative

Physical violence among adolescents occurs in multiple forms and is a critical public health issue in the United States. Instances of violence include homicide, which was the second leading cause of death among all persons aged 10–24 years in 2009 (the latest year for which data are available).1 For non-Hispanic Blacks aged 10-24 years, homicide was the leading cause of death, among Hispanics it was the second leading cause of death, and among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives it was the third leading cause of death. Among both non- Hispanic Whites and Asian/Pacific Islanders it was the fourth leading cause of death among individuals in this age group (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).1

Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System show that, in 2011, 12.0 percent of high school students reported being in a physical fight on school property during the preceding 12 months. Among males, 16.0 percent reported having been in a fight; this is more than twice the rate reported by females (7.8 percent). This disparity was most pronounced among non-Hispanic Whites, where males were almost three times as likely as females to have been in a fight (13.8 percent versus 5.6 percent), although significant sex differences were observed across all racial/ethnic groups. Overall, non-Hispanic Asian students were least likely to report having been in a fight (6.2 percent) while over one-fifth of non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander students reported having been in a physical fight on school property in the past year.

Approximately 1 out of every 10 high school students reported that they were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the past 12 months. The prevalence of dating violence was similar across grade levels and among males and females.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Accessed: June 2012.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

high school students in fights graph

This image is described in the Data section.

high school students experiencing dating violence graph

Data

High School Students in a Physical Fight on School Property in the Past 12 Months, by Race/Ethnicity* and Sex, 2011
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Students
Total Male Female
*Sex-specific data for American Indian/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders do not meet standards for reliability or precision.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1991-2011 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Accessed: 06/25/12.
Total 12.0 16.0 7.8
Non-Hispanic White 9.9 13.8 5.6
Non-Hispanic Black 16.4 19.6 13.1
Hispanic 14.4 19.4 9.0
Non-Hispanic Asian 6.2 10.0 1.7
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 12.0 16.0 7.7
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 20.9 * *
Non-Hispanic Multiple Races 16.6 19.0 14.4
High School Students Experiencing Dating Violence* in the Past 12 Months, by Grade Level and Sex, 2011
Grade level Percent of Students
Total Male Female
*Dating violence was defined as having been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1991-2011 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Accessed: 06/25/12.
Total 9.4 9.5 9.3
9th Grade 7.5 7.4 7.6
10th Grade 9.6 9.5 9.8
11th Grade 10.3 11.2 9.3
12th Grade 10.3 10.0 10.7