OBJECTIVETo study racial disparities and the weapons used to commit youth homicide in New Jersey.METHODSThe homicide data were obtained from New Jersey death certificate files, 1989-1997.RESULTSThere was a statistically significant racial disparity in homicide incidence rates in this study. The homicide incidence rates was 10 times and four times higher among African-American than white, adolescents (age 15-19 years) and young adults (age 20-24 years) (respectively). Youth (15-24 years) homicide incidence rate correlated with New Jersey's 21 counties' high urbanization index and with low level of education. The ratio of male/female homicide incidence rates was 6:4 for adolescents and young adults, respectively. African-American adolescent homicide rates increased consistently from 1989 to 1997. Sixty percent of all youth homicide was committed by firearms.CONCLUSIONSignificant youth homicide racial and gender disparities exist in New Jersey's 21 counties. If the existing trend of homicide violent crime victimization continues in New Jersey, African-American teenagers will soon become the leading segment of the population to be murdered in the state. Sixty percent of the youth homicide victimization was committed by firearms; and correlation analyses of New Jersey's 21 counties suggested that low levels of education and high levels of urbanization provided an environment of key risk factors for homicide.