funny statistics?

Posted in Canadian life, Random thoughts, University life at 11:30 pm by ducky

Last night, my beloved husband and I went to see Zarqa Nawaz (the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie) speak at our local gorgeous performing arts hall.

Her talk was wonderful and funny and thought-provoking — I’m really glad I went.

One of the points that she made was that when a Muslim does something bad, there are cries about how this is just one more example of how Islam as a religion is repressive/bad/evil/ugly/whatever, but nobody tars Christianity or white culture if someone white does something bad. One thing that she mentioned was that the leading cause of death of pregnant women in the US was homicide, but that nobody talks about how US culture is brutal to women

I was shocked by the statistic. But thinking about that this morning, I started to wonder about how meaningful that statistic was. What else are pregnant women going to die of?

  • If a woman is pregnant, she’s not going to be old, so she is much less likely to die from diseases of old age. Pregnant women probably don’t die of heart disease very often.
  • If a young woman has some nasty illness, she’s probably not going to be pregnant. Either her body won’t have the resources to get pregnant, or she’ll have the baby and take steps to not get pregnant again, or the illness (or medications) will cause her to lose the baby.
  • Pregnant women usually don’t put themselves in dangerous situations. Women generally don’t hang out in war zones, mine coal, drive trucks, or enter motorcycle races once they find out they are pregnant. (And before they find out they are pregnant, they might also get missed by the statistics.)

While yes, it is bad that homicide is the leading cause of pregnant women in the US, I’d like to see how it compares to US women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, to US men of the same age, and the same numbers for different countries.

I did a little digging, and found some stats at the Violence Policy Center (VPC) and some stats at the US Bureau of Justice (BOJ):

  • Black women were more than three times as likely to be murdered than white women.
  • Women were more than 11 times as likely to be murdered by a man they knew than by a stranger (VPC).
  • When the woman knew her murderer, 60% of the time, it was an intimate or ex-intimate according to VPC.  However, according to the Bureau of Justice, about a third of women were killed by their intimates.  (Maybe the difference is due to different classification of “intimates”.  VPC includes ex-intimates.)
  • Only about three percent of male victims are killed by their intimates (BOJ).
  • In 90% of the cases where the race of both victim and murderer were know, the woman was killed by men of a different race!!! (BOJ)
  • The number of women killed by their intimates in the US was pretty stable for 20 years, and then started falling in 1993.  It’s at its lowest point ever right now. (BOJ)
  • The number of men killed by their intimates in the US has been falling steadily and dramatically for the past 30 years. (BOJ)

1 Comment

  1. Sandy Ingham said,

    January 17, 2008 at 12:18 pm


    I too went to the excellent talk by Zarqa Nawaz. And I was struck by the stat she gave on US maternal mortality.

    It turns out that the study done by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention list homicide as A leading cause of mortality.

    However, the most common cause of death was indeed complications of pregnancy followed by car accidents. Then came homicide.

    Check out http://www.jrrobertssecurity.com/security-news/security-crime-news0043.htm