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Firearm fatalities have resulted in nearly 500,000 years of life lost in Ohio over a decade

New study details firearm fatality statistics from 2008-2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Aug 9, 2019

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 9, 2019)  - In light of the recent tragic events in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health (The Alliance) has released research showing nearly 500,000 years of life were lost in Ohio due to gun violence from 2009-2018. While this research is in no way exclusive to mass shootings, Rick Hodges, director of The Alliance, hopes this research will contribute to the national conversation currently taking place.

The study  reviewed data from the Ohio Department of Health from 2009-2017 and included preliminary data from 2018 to calculate 484,122 years of life lost (YLL) as a result of 13,001 deaths from firearms during the timespan.

According to Orman Hall, executive in residence at Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) and the study’s author, the highest percentage of firearm-related YLL was for Ohioans between the ages of 20-24 (34 percent) and Ohio’s senior citizen population accounted for the highest rate of increase at 80 percent. Suicide accounted for more than half of the total years of life lost, followed by homicide and accidental death.

In 2009, 1,087 Ohioans died by firearms, leading to 41,161 years of life lost. A  steady increase  in both the number of deaths and YLL took place through 2013.

Firearm-related death statistics fell in 2014 before rising to 1,360 deaths in 2015, corresponding to 50,922 YLL.  In 2016, YLL jumped again  to 55,515 and peaked at 59,515 in 2017 before falling to 55,154 the following year.

“The Alliance continues to produce reports that show the real-world impact of some of our most significant public health issues. The continued increase in firearm fatalities in Ohio and the number of years of life lost is certainly a public health issue,” said CHSP Dean Randy Leite. “These are hundreds of thousands of years we’ll never get back, years of lost parenthood, lost employment productivity, lost civic leadership, lost care for elderly relatives and so much more.”

Cuyahoga County had the highest total number of YLL over the study, followed closely by Franklin County and Hamilton County.

The 10 highest counties for total number of YLL were as follows:

  • Cuyahoga – 71,261
  • Franklin – 68,382
  • Hamilton – 47,545
  • Montgomery – 32,199
  • Summit – 22,932
  • Lucas – 20,712 
  • Stark – 16,320
  • Mahoning – 14,680
  • Butler – 11,847
  • Trumbull – 10,457

The 10 highest counties for average annual YLL rate per 100,000 population ranked as follows:

  1. Adams
  2. Jackson
  3. Mahoning
  4. Montgomery
  5. Hamilton
  6. Franklin
  7. Meigs
  8. Jefferson
  9. Cuyahoga
  10. Gallia

The southeast region of the state as a whole had the most counties with high rates of firearm fatalities per 100,000 population. Leite said the College of Health Sciences and Professions will convene an ad hoc group to continue to study firearm fatalities in the area.

A complete version of The Alliance’s study is available online at https://www.ohiopopulationhealthalliance.com/resources.

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Media Contact:  Regina Schwartz, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing for OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, at  schwarr1@ohio.edu  or 740-593-1433. Or Carly Leatherwood, Senior Director of Communications for OHIO, at  leatherc@ohio.edu  or 740-597-1940.

Visit CHSP's  official media page  for the latest news and updates, or follow us on Twitter  @CHSPOhio .

About The Alliance for Innovation in Population Health
The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health  (The Alliance) is a groundbreaking initiative that focuses on working collaboratively to improve the health of all Ohioans. The Alliance mission is to unite resources and expertise from some of the state’s premier universities, researchers, hospital associations, healthcare providers and public health experts and build collaborations to improve the most complex and pressing health problems in the state.

About the College of Health Sciences and Professions
Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) is a place where innovative education and research happen every day. Each year, more than 3,600 students graduate from our Athens and Dublin-based campuses prepared to serve as passionate professionals who are ready to change the world. As one of the largest health-focused colleges in the country, CHSP has a growing portfolio of degree and certificate programs housed in six academic units: the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness; the School of Nursing; the School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences; the Department of Social and Public Health; the Department of Social Work and the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies. All six connect faculty and students across multiple disciplines to explore the best approaches to addressing health and wellness in various settings. Find out more at:  www.ohio.edu/chsp.

About Ohio University
Ohio University strives to be the best student-centered, transformative learning community in America, where approximately 40,000 students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders. OHIO is committed to fostering, embracing, and celebrating diversity in all its forms. Our Athens Campus offers students a residential learning experience in one of the nation’s most picturesque academic settings. Additional campuses and centers serve students across the state, and online programs further advance the University’s commitment to providing educational access and opportunity.