Thursday, February 27, 2014

The USA vs. Germany: violence

Hi everyone!  Hi Internet!  I should be cleaning and packing for our trip to Prague tomorrow.  I should be handling very important adult paper work stuff but do you know what?  That's no fun and kind of depressing.  So I decided to finish some research I started ages ago.  This is how I procrastinate you guys, I do research.   Anyway.

 A long time ago I started gathering data on which country was better to live in.  Not based on individual opinions, but cold numerical stuff.  My research was really interesting.  Life got in the way, we moved and I never posted it.  I like things about both countries, though I haven't lived in the USA for a long time.  Since I don't have a favorite I tried to be as non biased as possible so I could give a clear picture.  To be fair to everyone I sited all of my sources so you don't have to take my word for it.  Feel free to slog through the data yourselves :)   I have so much data to go over that I split it up to make it less confusing.  This post deals with violence.  I also have data on stuff like gender equality, health care and cost of living.  That will all be coming soon. 

Gun Violence

The first thing I wanted to know about was gun violence.  Every time I read the American news there is another random shooting but does that really mean America is a dangerous place to live?  Germans limit who can carry a gun so naturally, they have less gun violence than the USA.  I noticed a funny trend, the less gun violence the less other violence a country has.  It's as if having the capacity to commit a crime might make people more likely to follow through.  Let's start with school shootings.

School shootings-
The USA has had over sixty school shootings since 1996. for a population of 313.9 million people.  Calculated statistic: .2 
Germany has had 4 school shootings since 1996. for a population of 81.891 million people.  Calculated statistic: .049

Conclusion- per number of people the USA has four times as many school shootings as Germany.  I did the math for you and no surprise, much of our violent crime findings will follow this trend. 


Intentional homocide-

USA had 12,996- 4.2
Germany- 690- 0.8

Germany has less than a forth of the intentional homicide as the USA.


Sexual assault

Reported rape, sexual assault, bodily harm per 100,000 people

Germany 9.1
USA 32.0

Germany has a little bit less than a third of the reported sexual assaults than the USA.  Good to know.  

Source 1, Source 2

Child abuse and neglect, Infant and Mother Mortality Rate

My research on this subject turned up some really interesting information that I didn't know.   Like it's illegal to hit your kids in many Northern European countries, including Germany.  

Corporal punishment is prohibited in the home. A 2000 amendment to the Civil Code states (article 1631): “Children have the right to a non-violent upbringing. Corporal punishment, psychological injuries and other humiliating measures are prohibited.” German childcare law was amended to place a duty on authorities to “promote ways in which families can resolve conflict without resort to force”. 

'The Report Card also presents new research summarizing the present legal status of physical punishment in all OECD member countries.  Overall it shows that only seven of those countries – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – currently have laws explicitly banning physical punishment of children.'
source, source

About forty percent of Germans don't know that their is a law against hitting their kids but overall Germans have a more negative view of corporal punishments with most of them agreeing to the statement that children have a right to a violence free environment.  There is also a link between adult violence and violence against children: 

'The research also establishes that a clear relationship seems to exist between levels of child death from maltreatment and the levels of violence in society as a whole.  The countries with the lowest rates of child deaths from maltreatment also have very low rates of adult deaths from assault.  Similarly, the three nations with exceptionally high levels of child deaths from maltreatment also have exceptionally high adult death rates.'   

That means that if on average USA has 684,500 substantiated child abuse cases a year then we would assume Germany to have about a fourth of that.  I haven't found any concrete information in English on child abuse in Germany.  I could research it more but researching child abuse is really depressing so I'll stick with the assumption.  


Cases of robbery per 100,000 in the USA: 133
Cases of robbery per 100,000 in Germany: 60

This surprised me a little bit because I thought Germany would have about the same amount of theft as the US but it is also lower by almost two thirds.



Cases of assault per 100,000 in the USA: 262
Cases of assault per 100,000 in Germany: 630

Before you start thinking that you are almost three times more likely to be assaulted in Germany, this chart came with a disclaimer saying that you can not accurately compare assault because each country has a varying definition of what assault constitutes. 


Cases of burglary per 100,000 in the USA: 715
Cases of burglary per 100,000 in Germany: 456

I also thought that there would be more burglary in Germany because I know a few people who had their houses robbed but it's significantly lower.

Vehicle theft

Cases of vehicle theft per 100,000 in the USA: 258
Cases of vehicle theft per 100,000 in Germany: 106

I couldn't find any statistics on how much more likely your is to be set on fire during a May Day protest but I'm pretty sure Germany would beat the US on that count. 

Conclusion:  Germany seems to be an overall safer place to live.   Ok, I'm going to go pack some stuff now.



  1. Catching up on your blog. LOVE this series comparing the two countries. Are you considering writing something comparing the German and US grade schools? People ask me about the schools all the time and sadly I don't have much information to give them.

    1. I will have to see what kind of information I can find on it but comparing the two school systems would be interesting. It effects us because if we move back the US we'll have to come up with college tuition!