In light of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health has released research showing nearly 500,000 years of life were lost in Ohio due to gun violence from 2009-2018.

While this research is in no way exclusive to mass shootings, Rick Hodges, director of The Alliance, said his hope is this research will contribute to the national conversation involving guns and public safety.

The study reviewed data from the Ohio Department of Health from 2009-2017 and included preliminary data from 2018. The study estimated 484,122 years of life (“YLL”) were lost as a result of 13,001 deaths from firearms during that timespan.

Orman Hall is the executive in residence at Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions and is the study’s author. Hall said the highest percentage of firearm-related years of life lost was for Ohioans between the ages of 20-24.

Suicide accounted for more than half of the total years of life lost, followed by homicide and accidental death.

In 2009 alone, 1,087 Ohioans died by firearms, leading to 41,161 years of life lost. A steady increase in both the number of deaths and years of life lost took place through 2013.

Firearm-related death statistics fell in 2014, before rising to 1,360 deaths in 2015.

“The Alliance continues to produce reports that show the real-world impact of some of our most significant public health issues. The continued increase in firearm fatalities in Ohio and the number of years of life lost is certainly a public health issue,” said CHSP Dean Randy Leite. “These are hundreds of thousands of years we’ll never get back, years of lost parenthood, lost employment productivity, lost civic leadership, lost care for elderly relatives and so much more.”

Cuyahoga County had the highest total number of YLL over the study, followed closely by Franklin County and Hamilton County.

The 10 highest counties for total number of YLL were as follows:

  • Cuyahoga – 71,261
  • Franklin – 68,382
  • Hamilton – 47,545
  • Montgomery – 32,199
  • Summit – 22,932
  • Lucas – 20,712
  • Stark – 16,320
  • Mahoning – 14,680
  • Butler – 11,847
  • Trumbull – 10,457

The 10 highest counties for average annual YLL rate per 100,000 population ranked as follows:

  • Adams
  • Jackson
  • Mahoning
  • Montgomery
  • Hamilton
  • Franklin
  • Meigs
  • Jefferson
  • Cuyahoga
  • Gallia

The southeast region of the state as a whole had the most counties with high rates of firearm fatalities per 100,000 population. Pickaway County’s rate was 11.49, Ross County, 11.27; Pike County, 13.93; Hocking County, 15.32; Athens County 8.18; and Jackson, 17.46 Leite said the College of Health Sciences and Professions will convene an ad hoc group to continue to study firearm fatalities in the area.

A complete version of The Alliance’s study is available online at www.ohiopopulationhealthalliance.com/resources.

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