A study from the National Violent Death Reporting System of the Centers for Disease Control sampling 16 states and enumerating demographics of the victims of fatal violence and method of violence has just been released. Nationally, there are about 50,000 violent deaths per year in the United States. The present, and most recent, study is of 2005.

The NVDRS was first funded in 2002, and collects violent death data from death certificates, police reports, coroner and medical examiner reports, and crime labs. The purpose of this survey is to provide verified and usable data for a number of health related and policy related decision making processes.

From the report:

For 2005, a total of 15,495 fatal incidents involving 15,962 violent deaths occurred in the 16 NVDRS states included in this report. The majority (56.1%) of deaths were suicides, followed by homicides and deaths involving legal interventions (29.6%), violent deaths of undetermined intent (13.3%), and unintentional firearm deaths (0.7%). Fatal injury rates varied by sex, race/ethnicity, age group, and method of injury. Rates were substantially higher for males than for females and for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) and blacks than for whites and Hispanics. Rates were highest for persons aged 20–24 years. For method of injury, the three highest rates were reported for firearms, poisonings, and hanging/strangulation/suffocation.

Suicides occurred at higher rates among males, AI/ANs, whites, and older persons and most often involved the use of firearms in the home. Suicides were precipitated primarily by mental illness, intimate partner or physical health problems, or a crisis during the previous 2 weeks. Homicides occurred at higher rates among males and young adult blacks and most often involved the use of firearms in the home or on a street/highway. Homicides were precipitated primarily by an argument over something other than money or property or in conjunction with another crime. Similar variation was reported among the other manners of death and special situations or populations highlighted in this report.

The entire report can be read here.