Updated violent death data available for Idaho

September 5, 2023
Dr. Emily LaFrance, Division of Public Health

The Idaho Violent Death Reporting System staff are pleased to announce that an updated and expanded version of the IdVDRS Data Dashboard is now published on the Get Healthy Idaho website. This dashboard contains updates to the look and feel, expanded mortality rate data, and two new tabs of circumstantial data relating to suicides and homicides.

Violent deaths are those that result from the use of force or power against oneself or another person. The definition includes homicides, suicides, deaths from legal intervention, deaths of undetermined intent, and deaths resulting from the accidental discharge of a firearm.

All of these data are compiled each year and published to the Idaho Violent Death Reporting System dashboard, which was updated with 2022 data on Friday, Sept. 1.

The Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics within the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was funded in 2018 by the CDC to establish the Idaho Violent Death Reporting System (IdVDRS), which collects data from three primary sources: death certificates, coroner’s reports, and law enforcement reports.

By combining information on a violent death from these three sources, the national reporting system builds a comprehensive picture of the circumstances in a victim’s life that have led to, or contributed to, their violent death.

The IdVDRS collects data on all violent deaths that occur each year in Idaho. By collecting comprehensive data about violent deaths, IdVDRS partners can create targeted, evidence-based prevention strategies to help reduce the burden of violent deaths in Idaho.

Following are some details about violent deaths among Idaho residents from 2014 to 2022:

  • Most violent deaths in Idaho happen among people 25 to 54 years old, with the highest concentration in the 35 to 44 years-old age bracket. The majority of Idaho’s violent deaths happened in Idaho’s more populated counties including Ada (955), Canyon (465), Kootenai (378), Bannock (309), Bonneville (279), and Twin Falls (241).
  • For homicides recorded in the database, 56.8% involved an argument that preceded death, and 27.3% involved intimate partner violence.
  • The majority of violent death victims (77.3%) were men.
  • For suicides in the database, 68.9% involved a crisis that preceded death, 24.9% involved people diagnosed with depression, and 58.2% involved alcohol.
  • The two leading causes of violent death in Idaho from 2014 to 2022 were firearm and suffocation/hanging, followed by drug poisoning.
  • While incomplete, preliminary 2023 data show violent deaths trending lower than the previous three years.

The data presented on the IdVDRS dashboard are for Idaho residents. The exception is the up-to-date suicide and violent death tab, which includes deaths occurring in Idaho, regardless of resident status.

The IdVDRS is a part of the National Violent Death Reporting System, which since 2002 has provided a comprehensive, state-based public health surveillance system overseen by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Emily LaFrance is principal research analyst and program manager for the Idaho Violent Death Reporting System in the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. She holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Washington State University.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov. 

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