The American City With the Highest Murder Rate

The number of murders in the United States rose by 30% last year to 21,570, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Pew Research Center claims the rate of increase was the largest since 1905.

Even after a careful examination of the figures, Pew said there is no complete explanation for the increase. The COVID-19 pandemic could be among the reasons. So could wrenching social change. One data point that does stand out is that guns were involved in 77% of all murders.

Currently, the national murder rate stands at 6.5 homicides for every 100,000 people. In many U.S. cities, however, murder rates are far higher. Using data from the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the U.S. city with the most murders. To pick the city, we ranked them on the murder rate, which is the number of reported murders for every 100,000 people in 2020. Only cities with populations of 25,000 or more were considered.

Despite the rising homicide rate nationwide, murder is by far the least common form of violent crime, accounting for less than 2% of all criminal violence. Still, in nearly every city with the highest homicide rates, the overall violent crime rate also exceeds the national violent crime rate of 399 incidents per 100,000 people.

The city with the highest murder rate is St. Louis, Missouri. Here are the details:

  • Murder rate: 88.1 per 100,000 people
  • Murders reported in 2020: 263 (seventh highest)
  • Violent crimes per 100K people: 2,016.3 (fifth highest)
  • Population within reporting jurisdiction: 298,422 (60th highest)

Methodology: To determine the city with the highest murder rate, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed murder figures from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The rates of murders per 100,000 people were calculated using population data from the FBI.

We included cities that have more than 25,000 people based on five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Limited data was available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Illinois, though these places were not excluded from analysis.

Additional information on the violent crime rate is also from the 2020 UCR.

Click here to see all the American cities with the highest murder rates.


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