Violence, Firearms and Life Expectancy in Mexico

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Maria Guadalupe VEGA LOPEZ, University of Guadalajara, Mexico
Guillermo GONZALEZ PEREZ, University of Guadalajara, Mexico
Objective. To determine the impact of firearms mortality on male life expectancy in Mexico and its 32 states during the three-year periods 2000–2002 and 2010–2012 and the weight of the different age groups in years of life expectancy lost (YLEL) due to this cause.

Methods. Based on official death and population data, abridged tables for male mortality in Mexico as a whole and its states were created for the three-year periods studied. Temporary life expectancy and YLEL for men aged 15 to 75 were calculated  by selected causes (firearms, diabetes mellitus, malignant neoplasms,  ischaemic heart disease and traffic accidents) and age groups in each three-year period.       

Results. In the years between the 2000-2002 and 2010–2012 periods, YLEL due to firearms increased both nationally and in 22 states (of 32). In four states, the YLEL in 2010–2012 exceeded two years, with the state of Chihuahua standing out at 4.95 years. In all of the 22 states where life expectancy among men declined between the two three-year periods, the YLEL due to firearms increased. From 2010 to 2012, firearms were among the leading cause of YLEL among men aged 20–44. YLEL due to fireams among those aged 15–44 increased between the two three-year periods. The YLEL by firearms are greater than the YLEL by diabetes mellitus, malignant neoplasms,  ischaemic heart disease and traffic accidents.

Conclusions. The increase in the rate of homicidal violence -especially using firearms- among young people, is impeding an increase in male life expectancy in Mexico. In several states, such as Chihuahua and Durango, the mortality by firearms appears to be the main reason for the decline in life expectancy among men aged 15 to 75.