Men Are 20 Times More Likely to Get Killed during Police Encounters Compared to Women, Regardless of Skin Color

African-American men are more likely to die in contact with police than to win scratch-offs, according to one of the study’s authors.



African American men’s vulnerability to police has now been quantified. According to a U.S. National Academy of Sciences study which analyzed deaths involving police officers, about one in 1,000 black African American men can expect to die at the hands of police in the United States.

These numbers make this group 2.5 times more likely to die in a police encounter than white men and boys. The study also shows that black women and girls, Hispanic men and boys, and Native American men, women, and children are killed by police at higher rates than their white peers. However, black men were particularly at higher risk of being killed.

Read Also: African American Women Exposed to Racism Are More Likely to Experience Cognitive Decline

In the Los Angeles Times, which reported on the study, a Rutgers University sociologist said this figure makes black men “more likely to be killed by police than to win a scratch-off.”

Women are 20 times less likely than men to get killed

For all young men, regardless of skin color, police violence was also a leading cause of death between 2013 and 2018. For Hispanic men and boys, the risk is up to 1.4 times higher than for whites. For Native American men, the risk is 1.2 to 1.7 times higher. Overall, women are about 20 times less likely to be killed by police than men.

However, there are differences depending on the ethnicity and race of these women. Researchers found that black women are about 1.4 times more likely to be killed by police than white women. American Indian women are between 1.1 and 2.1 times more likely to be killed than their white counterparts.

In contrast, Asian and Pacific Islander women and men are half as likely to be killed by police as their white counterparts. And Hispanic women are between 12% and 23% less likely than white women to be killed.

Read Also: The Science of Racism: Does IQ Have Anything to Do With Bigotry?

Mental health at stake

Another study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that police killings of unarmed black men were associated with an increase in mental health problems such as depression and emotional disorders among blacks living in the state where the killings occurred.

The early twenties are a particularly dangerous time for young men. During the study period, police use of force accounted for 1.6% of all deaths among Black men ages 20-24.

Moving Forward

Police departments in all states need to be trained in how to diffuse situations where mental health issues are involved to avoid any unnecessary use of force. In fact, it would be better if health professionals were called for these situations instead.

Read Also: Dispelling the Misconception: Africa is a Diverse Continent, Not a Single Country


Edwards, F., Lee, H., & Esposito, M. (2019). Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(34), 16793-16798.

Bor, J., Venkataramani, A. S., Williams, D. R., & Tsai, A. C. (2018). Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study. The Lancet, 392(10144), 302-310.



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