Despite declining in recent years, homicide rates in Colombia remain among the highest worldwide which is primarily owing to the striking homicides levels among young men. In a previous study we found that homicide explained more than half of inequalities in homicide among men at working-age (25–64 years). In this paper we aim to explain how evolve these inequalities in homicide by educational level among adult (25+ years) men and women from 1998 to 2015.
Data from national homicide registries were linked to population censuses to obtain homicide rates by educational level. We used Poisson regression to model trends in homicide by education using the Relative Index of Inequality (RII).
Homicide rates were more than twelve times larger among men than among women. Men and women with only primary education had higher homicide than men and women with post-secondary education (RRmen=4.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.10, 4.34; RRwomen=3.57, 95% CI: 3.27, 3.90). For both men and women homicide rates among those with primary and secondary education had a steady increase with a peak in 2002, followed by a significant reduction from this point onward, while homicide rates declined during all period among those with post-secondary education. Relative Index of Inequality (RII) grew unevenly. Inequalities measured by RII were around twice higher among young (25–44 years) than among adult (45–64 years) men and women.
The striking contribution of homicide to socioeconomic differences in homicide among young population highlights the need for social policy approaches that address the profound social and economic factors that underlie interpersonal violence in Colombia. Ending the internal armed conflict might be a potential vast contributor via reducing homicides among less favoured. Our findings underscore the magnitude in which addressing public policies to reducing violence in Colombia would sharply reduce overall inequalities in Colombia.