Thursday, 07 Jun, 2007 Science

Violence in US Costs $70 Billion


United States invests $70 billion on decreasing interpersonal violence and self-inflicted violence, i. e. suicide or attempt to suicide. Such huge investments can compete even with federal education spendings, which are about $67.2 billion, as well as the spendings regarding damages caused by Katrina estimated at $80 billion.

The lead author of study, health economist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Phaedra Corso, who is also an associate professor of health policy at the University of Georgia College of Public Health together with her colleagues at the CDC analyzed 8 national data sets, which were compiled by the federal government. Then the group estimated medical costs along with losses in productivity.

Taking into consideration various sub-populations and different categories of violence scientists were able to analyze the costs of violence, in such a way outlining certain targets for cost effective interventions. 68% of all costs from assaults and 63% of the costs linked with self-inflicted injuries were connected with males between 15 and 44 years old.

"The most burdensome category is among young males who are victims of assaults with firearms," the health economist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned. Thus, in order to save those costs there is a need to focus attention on that particular population.

The study also includes other figures:

  • Among $70 billion spent on preventing violence, about $64.4 billion occurred from lost productivity and the remaining $5.6 billion were spent on medical care.
  • Because of interpersonal violence in the United States people suffer 2.2 million medically treated injuries, the costs of which are estimated at $37 billion.
  • The annual cost of suicide and attempted suicide is estimated at $33 billion each year.
  • About 17,000 homicides that occur each year result in $22.1 billion.
  • One suicide or attempt to suicide case costs $1 million.

It is necessary to mention that productivity losses represent societal costs. This is because they calculate the contribution that the person would have performed through his or her work.

"There is a huge quality of life component that this research doesn't capture ... thinking about the Virginia Tech victims, no one can put a value on the impact the violence had on those families and students." the author of the study said.

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