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  • Posted October 12, 2023

Young Adults, Black Americans Most Likely to Visit ER for Assault Injuries

Being young or Black may make it more likely that you wind up in an emergency room with an assault injury, new research suggests.

Living in metropolitan areas and being covered by state-based health insurance was also tied to a raised risk.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released the report Thursday, showing that more than 1 million people in the United States visited an emergency room with an assault injury in 2020.

In all, there were nearly 23 million visits for nonfatal injuries, with about 6% of them classified as non-sexual assault, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the study found that 4.5 out of every 1,000 Americans sought treatment in emergency departments for assault between 2019 and 2021.

Those who were uninsured or covered by state-run programs -- such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program -- had the highest numbers of assaults.

By gender, assault injury rates were similar between men and women, the findings showed.

But age mattered, with the highest number of visits for adults aged 18 to 24, about double the average rate per 1,000 people.

For adults aged 25 and 44, there were 7.7 visits per 1,000 people compared to 9.2 for their slightly younger counterparts, the investigators found.

By race, Black people had 13.8 visits per 1,000 people, Hispanic individuals had 4.6 per 1,000 and white people had 3.1 per 1,000.

Urban areas had more than double the rate of assault visits as those in rural locales or small cities, according to the report.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on when to use an emergency room.

SOURCE: NCHS data brief, "Emergency Department Visit Rates for Assault: United States, 2019--2021"

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