em>Note: Only limited data were available for Illinois and none were available for Alabama and Florida.

Alaska is home to the nation’s highest male-on-female murder rate, according to a new report.

The state tops the list of the 17th annual When Men Murder Women report, assembled by the Violence Policy Center, and has a male-on-female murder rate more than twice the national average. While the VPC promotes gun control, the report includes all such murders regardless of the weapon involved.

To calculate the rates, VPC divided the number of incidents in which only one victim and one offender was involved by each state’s female population, using data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report. They limited their count to single victim/single offender incidents.

Despite its high rate, only nine women were killed in Alaska. South Carolina, home to the second-highest murder rate, saw 50 such deaths. Oklahoma was ranked third, followed by Louisiana, then Mississippi. Alaska’s rate in 2012, the latest year for which data were available, was 2.57 murders per 100,000 women, more than double the national rate of 1.16.

In instances where the relationship between the offender and victim was identifiable, 93 percent involved women murdered by men they knew. Of those, 62 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. Firearms were the most common weapon, having been used in 52 percent of cases where the weapon used could be identified. Just over two thirds of those involved handguns. In 85 percent of cases where the circumstances could be sussed out, the offense was unrelated to another felony such as a rape or robbery.

Overall, however, the national rate has steadily dropped in recent years, as displayed in the chart below. In 1996, it stood at 1.57 murders per 100,000 women.

Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the recently renewed Violence Against Women Act.

While the report doesn’t focus exclusively on domestic violence and guns, the authors nonetheless argue that “gun ownership contains clear risks that should deeply concern women” and suggest that guns “are not used to save lives, but to take them.” A 2002 Harvard study found that while U.S. women accounted for 32 percent of females in a group of 25 populous high-income countries, they accounted for 84 percent of all female firearm homicides.

Note: Only limited data were available for Illinois and none were available for Alabama and Florida.


Rate of women murdered by men in single victim-single offender incidents from 1996 to 2012. (Violence Policy Center)