Home / Crime / Articles / Which cities have the highest murder rates?

There were 24,849 homicides in the US in 2022 — an average of about 7.5 deaths per 100,000 people[1]. Homicide rates are highest in counties home to large cities, where there are an average of 10.5 per 100,000.

Rates are lower in medium-sized urban counties (7.4), small metropolitan counties (6.4), and suburban counties[2] (5.1). Rural counties also have lower-than-average homicide rates.

Which cities have the most homicides?

One way to approximate city homicide numbers is with data from large urban counties. This is inexact, as some counties map to a single city others contain multiple cities or a broader metropolitan area, and some major cities (like St. Louis and Baltimore) are independent and don’t belong to any county[3]. But county-level numbers are still instructive.

Cook County, Illinois, home to Chicago and its metropolitan area, had 929 homicides in 2022 — the most in the nation. The second highest was Los Angeles County, California, whose 88 cities, including Los Angeles, had 713 homicides.

Los Angeles and Cook Counties are also the two most populated counties in the country. When adjusted for population, Cook County’s 18.2 homicides per 100,000 people ranked 17th among 60 large-city US counties with reliable data, and Los Angeles County’s 7.3 ranked 41st.

Which large cities have the most homicides per 100,000 people?

The five large cities whose home counties had the highest homicide rates were New Orleans, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.

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The five large, urban counties with the lowest rates were home to San Jose, California; Irvine, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Diego, California; and the borough of Manhattan in New York.

In large, urban municipalities with 20 or fewer reported murders, the rates were considered unreliable. Such was the case in 2022 for the counties that are home to Jersey City and Elizabeth, New Jersey; the borough of Staten Island, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Plano, Texas; and Alexandria, Virginia.

Which smaller cities have the highest homicide rates?

Some less-populated urban counties also have higher-than-average homicide rates, particularly in the Southeast. Among the medium-sized metropolitan counties, the highest homicide rates were:

  • 56.0 per 100,000 in Hinds County, Mississippi (home to Jackson)
  • 34.0 in Montgomery County, Alabama (home to Montgomery)
  • 26.2 in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana (home to Baton Rouge)
  • 25.3 in Pulaski County, Arkansas (home to Little Rock)
  • 23.6 in Caddo Parish, Louisiana (home to Shreveport)
  • 20.3 in Richmond County, Georgia (home to Augusta)

Which cities have rising murder rates?

From 2018 to 2022, murder rates rose in 53 of the 59 large urban counties with reliable data, stayed level in two, and fell in four.

In Multnomah County, Oregon, home to Portland, the homicide rate nearly quadrupled from 3.0 per 100,000 people to 11.8, the biggest change in any county. Rates also more than doubled in Minnesota’s Ramsey County (Saint Paul) and Hennepin County (Minneapolis), as well as in Manhattan and Monroe County, New York (Rochester).

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Not every county saw rising murder rates: The homicide rate dropped in Suffolk County, Massachusetts (home to Boston), falling 24%. It also dipped in the counties home to St. Petersburg, FL (-18%), Newark, NJ (-16%), and Riverside, CA (-4%).

Where did this data come from?

Different agencies report on homicide differently. The CDC reports on homicide as a cause of death in its wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER) database, allowing comparisons among mortality rates, while the FBI reports on homicide in its crime data, allowing comparisons among crime rates.

USAFacts relies on CDC data because of its more complete dataset and consistency over time. The CDC collects homicide data from standardized death certificates, which contain medical information typically entered by coroners or medical examiners. The FBI, meanwhile, relies on local law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting crime data, which many do not. Still, deaths could be miscounted by either agency as homicides (or not) based on limited detail on the circumstances.

For more on crime data, check out our article on which states have the highest murder rates and get the facts every week by signing up for our newsletter.

Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research
Last updated
April 26, 2024

This is a crude rate; the age-adjusted rate was 7.7. Age-adjusted data helps to compare health data over time or between groups more fairly by accounting for the age differences in populations. For example, suppose Population A has a higher average age than Population B. In that case, age-adjusting ensures that Population A's naturally higher death rate due to age doesn't skew comparisons of overall health between the two. This measurement makes death statistic comparisons more accurate than crude death rates, but age-adjusted rates are unavailable at the county level.


The CDC size designations are as follows:

- Counties of one million or more people are large central metro counties if they contain all or part of a principal city in the area, and large fringe metro (similar to suburbs) otherwise.

- Medium metro counties are counties in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) that have 250,000 to 999,999 people.

- Small metro counties are counties in MSAs that have less than 250,000 people.

- Micropolitan counties are not in an MSA but are designated by the Office of Management and Budget as micropolitan.

- All other counties that are not in MSAs are noncore, or rural.


CDC data includes large independent cities in the large central metro category, allowing comparisons between independent cities and large urban counties.