Africa: Murder Rates

Africa is much in the news of late. The Europeans are learning that Muammar Gaddafi may have been a flamboyant nut, but he was pretty good at keeping the people to the south from heading north. Since his demise, sub-Saharan Africans have been heading north, hoping to get into Europe. The Moslem lunatics are promising to open the floodgates unless something magical happens. Hundreds are drowning in the Mediterranean and you can be sure that number will only rise.

So, just how bad is it in Africa?

I thought it would be useful to look at the key metrics for measuring the awfulness of a country. The wonder of our age is that this sort of data is at our fingertips. If you want to know something about Equatorial Guinea, for example, you don’t have to go there, which is probably a good thing given that their ruler is a cannibal. But, perhaps my good friend Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is getting a bad rap.

There’s a lot of data so I decided to think about it in personal terms. If I were to move to Africa, I would take stock of the things important to me. When you move to a new home, you think about the schools, the neighborhood, crime, the commute to work etc. That strikes me as a sensible way of looking at Africa. After all, a whole lot of Africans want to leave for some personal reason.

The first thing to consider is the murder rate, which is a good proxy for overall crime. I can tolerate most anything, except being murdered. In the US, the murder rate is 4.7 per 100,000, but we all know the truth of those numbers. Net out the black rate and the number drops in half. Look just at whites and the rate is within the norm for a European country, which is below 2.0.

Here’s a table of murder rates for Africa:

Country Name Murder Rate Country Name Murder Rate
Algeria 0.70 Angola 10.00
Libya 1.70 Comoros 10.00
Malawi 1.80 Djibouti 10.10
Sierra Leone 1.90 The Gambia 10.20
Tunisia 2.20 Cape Verde 10.30
Morocco 2.20 Togo 10.30
Mauritius 2.80 Zimbabwe 10.60
Senegal 2.80 Uganda 10.70
Liberia 3.20 Zambia 10.70
São Tomé 3.30 Madagascar 11.10
Egypt 3.40 Sudan 11.20
Niger 4.70 Central African Rep 11.80
Mauritania 5.00 Ethiopia 12.00
Ghana 6.10 Mozambique 12.40
Kenya 6.40 Republic of the Congo 12.50
Eritrea 7.10 Tanzania 12.70
Chad 7.30 Ivory Coast 13.60
Mali 7.50 Republic of Sudan 13.90
Cameroon 7.60 Namibia 17.20
Burkina Faso 8.00 Botswana 18.40
Burundi 8.00 Equatorial Guinea 19.30
Somalia 8.00 Nigeria 20.00
Benin 8.40 Rwanda 23.10
Guinea-Bissau 8.40 DR of the Congo 28.30
Guinea 8.90 South Africa 31.00
Gabon 9.10 Swaziland 33.80
Seychelles 9.50 Lesotho 38.00

The numbers are from the UN so we should assume some fudging to make these countries look a little better. They also exclude war so the violent death rates is surely much higher. To give some perspective, the hardest thumping ghettos in America have a homicide rate in the 30’s.

On the other hand, New York City has a homicide rate of 4.0, below the national average. London has a rate of 1.6. Berlin is at 1.8 and Paris is at 1.0. The worst city in Europe is Amsterdam (legal weed, obviously) with a murder rate of 4.4. If you’re an African in Eritrea or Mali, north looks like a good option. It’s safer crossing the Mediterranean than crossing your own village.

The other piece to this is that these murder rates exclude war and they rely on local reporting, which is never going to be very good. Lots of people disappear every day in these countries and they never end up on official reports. That’s why I included the counties of the Maghreb in the table. Libya is certainly not the low violence utopia imagined in these UN reports.

Just looking at the violence rates, it is easy to see why the Africans are heading north. They live in hyper-violent societies. Even though the trip north is wildly dangerous, it pales in comparison to daily life in most of these places.

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5 years ago

The other day I was talking to some members of my family about the sinking of an overstuffed rust bucket of a ship ferrying sub-saharans to a new life in Italy. Of course it is a tragedy because those people might have stayed home and maybe even nada life, whatever the murder rate is back home. They all started with “It’s tragedy” as we are all expected to, and then I voiced a little dissent. Our silly leaders in the west thought they were being smart and got rid of Ghaddafi (or Gadafy or Qadafi or whatever) and cleverly uncorked… Read more »

james wilson
james wilson
5 years ago

A place on one of those rickety boats doesn’t come cheap. It’s not the huddled masses that are coming, it’s the grifters who know the ropes. Tow them back to the 20 mile limit and leave them enough gas to make shore, or ask for advice from the Australians.

Reply to  thezman
5 years ago

Could be? I am surprised that more white Americans aren’t flocking to Australia. No snow, no violent blacks or Hispanics, affordable healthcare, cool cars, soccer is in its rightful place as a minor sport, beef, no beggars or homeless annoying you and Australian chocolate ruins the American version. Beer though is on about the same level. For every white American you send, we will swap two Lebanese and throw in a Sudanese.

5 years ago

But why did Gaddafi keep his would-be immigrants home? Money. He blackmailed the EU for huge sums of “aid” or else he’d turn a blind eye to those wishing to migrate north. It was a game to him, however.

“We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.” — quote by Gaddafi from a speech given in 2006.

5 years ago

[…] did a series of posts on Africa a long time ago and one of them listed the intentional homicide rates. Sub-Saharan Africa has some outlandish murder rates, but they are consistent with what we see in […]