Current Status + Progress
In 2015 alone, violence took the lives of around 82,000 adolescents worldwide

As girls and boys move through adolescence, they begin to spend increasing amounts of time in an ever-expanding social environment within and beyond their immediate networks, interacting with a wider array of people. The increased risk of victimization during adolescence is evident when looking at age-related patterns of deaths due to violence. As children enter the second decade of their lives, the mortality rate from violence more than doubles what it had been during their first 10 years of life.

KEY FACTS [1]

  • Every 7 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent is killed by an act of violence. In 2015 alone, violence took the lives of around 82,000 adolescents worldwide. Those aged 15 to 19 are particularly vulnerable, being three times more likely to die violently than younger adolescents aged 10 to 14.
  • More adolescent deaths result from interpersonal than collective violence. In 2015, nearly 2 out of 3 victims died of homicide, while the rest were killed by conflicts.
  • While only about 6% of the world’s adolescents live in the Middle East and North Africa, more than 70% of adolescents who died in 2015 due to collective violence were living in this region – with mortality rates having risen dramatically since 2011. If all adolescents faced the same risk of dying due to collective violence as those in the Syrian Arab Republic, there would be an adolescent death in the world every 10 seconds.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean is the only region that has seen an increase (albeit relatively small) in homicide rates among adolescents aged 10 to 19 since 2007. Slightly less than 10% of the world’s adolescents live in the region, but nearly half of all homicides among adolescents in 2015 occurred there. The five countries with the highest homicide rates among adolescents are all located in Latin America.
  • In the United States the homicide rate among non-Hispanic Black adolescent boys aged 10 to 19 is almost 19 times higher than the rate among non-Hispanic White adolescent boys. If the homicide rate among non-Hispanic Black adolescent boys was applied nationwide, the United States would be one of the top ten most deadly countries in the world. In 2015, the risk of being killed by homicide for non-Hispanic Black adolescent boys in the United States was higher than the risk of dying due to collective violence in a number of conflict-affected countries. Non-Hispanic Black girls in the United States also face an increased risk of homicide, with a rate that is around five times greater than that of non-Hispanic White adolescent girls.

COLLECTIVE VIOLENCE

Nearly 3 out of 4 adolescents in the world who died as a result of collective violence in 2015 lived in the Middle East and North Africa

Number of deaths and mortality rate (deaths per 100,000) due to collective violence among adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, by region and by sex, in 2015

Region Number of victims Rate per 100,000
Total Boys Girls
Middle East and North Africa 22,000 29.9 35.6 23.9
West and Central Africa 2,000 1.9 2.4 1.3
Eastern and Southern Africa 1,700 1.4 1.8 1.0
South Asia 4,600 1.3 1.6 1.1
Eastern Europe and Central Asia 200 0.4 0.6 0.3
East Asia and the Pacific 400 0.1 0.2 0.1
Latin America and the Caribbean 150 0.1 0.2 0.1
North America <10 0.0 0.0 0.0
Western Europe <10 0.0 0.0 0.0
World 31,000 2.6 3.1 2.0

Notes: Figures in this table have been rounded. Zeroes appearing in the table do not necessarily mean there were no victims in these regions, but rather that the recalculated rate came to zero after rounding. The sum of deaths by region differs from the world total due to rounding.

Source: World Health Organization, Global Health Estimates 2015: Deaths by cause, age and sex, by country and by region, 2000–2015, WHO, Geneva, 2016, recalculated by UNICEF.

HOMICIDES

In 2015, the homicide rate in Latin America and the Caribbean was five times higher than the global average

Number of deaths and mortality rate (deaths per 100,000) due to homicide among adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, by region and by sex, in 2015

Region Number of victims Rate per 100,000
Total Boys Girls
Latin America and the Caribbean 24,500 22.1 38.5 5.1
West and Central Africa 6,000 5.4 8.1 2.6
Eastern and Southern Africa 5,000 4.1 6.5 1.7
North America 1,600 3.6 5.9 1.2
Middle East and North Africa  2,200 3.1 4.7 1.4
South Asia 6,700 2.0 2.6 1.2
East Asia and the Pacific 4,300 1.5 2.3 0.6
Eastern Europe and Central Asia 700 1.4 1.9 0.8
Western Europe 200 0.4 0.6 0.3
World 51,300 4.3 6.8 1.6

Note: Figures in this table have been rounded. The sum of deaths by region differs from the world total due to rounding.

Source: World Health Organization, Global Health Estimates 2015: Deaths by cause, age and sex, by country and by region, 2000–2015, WHO, Geneva, 2016, recalculated by UNICEF.

 

[1] All these key facts were calculated on the basis of the WHO Global Health Estimates 2015. The homicide rates among adolescents in the United States were calculated on the basis of data from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For further information on the data and methods of calculation, see United Nations Children’s Fund, A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents, UNICEF, New York, 2017.

Methodology

For further details, see: A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents, UNICEF, New York, 2017.