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Youth homicide rate at 30-year low

ATLANTA — The homicide rate for older children and young adults has hit its lowest point in at least three decades, but the decline has been slowing, according to a new government report.

In 2010, the homicide rate for victims ages 10 to 24 was less than half the rate seen in 1993, when there was an explosion in crime tied to crack cocaine.

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The report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people ages 10 to 24 account for about a third of slaying victims. The highest homicide rates are consistently seen in people in their late teens and 20s.

About 4,800 youths ages 10 to 24 were killed in 2010, the most recent year in the analysis. That translates to a homicide rate of 7.5 per 100,000 people, the lowest since 1981.

But it hasn’t been a steady trend down. The rate dropped a bit in the early 1980s and then rose sharply, peaking at about 16 per 100,000 in 1993. It plummeted for several years before the decline slowed. The rate inched down about 1 percent a year, on average, from 2000 to 2010, the CDC found.

Though homicide last year fell off the nation’s top 15 causes of death for the first time in almost 50 years, it continues to rank among the top three leading causes of death for people ages 10 to 24.

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