Chicago Citizens Have 1 in 15 Chance of Being Shot by the Time They’re 40; 26 More Victims Over Weekend

Craig Bannister | May 15, 2023
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People growing up in the city of Chicago have about a one in fifteen chances of being shot by the time they turn 40, results of a new survey suggest.

Last weekend, at least 26 people in Chicago were shot, eight fatally, including three who were wounded while standing on a sidewalk and caught in the crossfire between two vehicles. That’s up from the 20 citizens who were shot, and the four killed by gunfire, the previous weekend.

A new study finds that 6.46% (1 in 15) of Chicagoans had been shot by their 40th birthday. What’s more, half (50.0%) had witnessed a shooting by that age.

According to the results of the study of more than twenty-four hundred Chicagoans, published last Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Blacks and Hispanics are much more likely than are Whites to be shot by the time they turn 40:

  • 6.46% (1 in 15) of all respondents had been shot by age 40.

  • 7.47% (1 in 13) of Black respondents had been shot.

  • 7.05% (1 in 14) of Hispanic respondents had been shot.

  • 3.13% (1 in 32) of White respondents had been shot by age 40 years.


The average age at the time of being shot was 17, with the odds of being shot after turning 21 dropping off drastically. Male respondents (11.40% or 1 in 8.8) are five times more likely than female respondents (2.28% or 1 in 43.8) to be shot by age 40.

“Most reports of being shot for female respondents occurred during their midteenaged years, whereas males reported being shot throughout their teenaged years and their 20s and 30s,” the study notes.

The influence of routine exposure to firearm violence may even fuel future shootings, the study warns:

“The stress from chronic exposure to firearm violence may also contribute to subsequent violence, through its impact on aggression, or even through the normalization of violence.”

The sustained stress of being exposed to gun violence can also cause physiological harm, damaging the body’s regulatory system, increasing susceptibility to disease, and accelerating the aging process.

"The long-term stress of exposure to firearm violence can contribute to everything from lower test scores for school kids to diminished life expectancy through heart disease," the study’s author, Charles Lanfear, an assistant professor at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, told Fox 32 Chicago.