In July 2012, The Guardian’s “Data Blog“ published an interactive map to visualize gun homicides and gun ownership listed by country. Data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Small Arms Survey were used to create this informatory example of data journalism:
How does the US really compare on firearms?
Key facts, as stated by The Guardian:
• The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership – and even the number two country, Yemen, has significantly fewer – 54.8 per 100 people
• But the US does not have the worst firearm murder rate – that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica. In fact, the US is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people
• Puerto Rico tops the world’s table for firearms murders as a percentage of all homicides – 94.8%. It’s followed by Sierra Leone in Africa and Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean
Even though the crime figures provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime do include most developed countries, there is no data about countries like China, Russia or Afghanistan.
The data clearly shows that the US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world, but it is important to mention that the countries with most guns don’t necessarily have the most gun-related homicides. A closer look at gun related violence places the United States somewhere near the mid-range. Still, there are far more cases of gun violence in America than in Canada, India, Australia and countries in Europe.
The publication of this map started an interesting and diversified discussion in the comment section of the Data Blog. Visit The Guardian to get a closer look at the data-set and let us know what you think about it!