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Sonora Has Mexico’s 2nd-Highest Rate Of Femicide, But Data Shows More Complex Reality

Sonora, Arizona’s neighbor to the south, has one of the highest rates of femicide in Mexico.

At 1.28 femicides for every 100,000 women in the state, Sonora is exceeded only by the Mexican state of Morelos over the first five months of 2021, according to recent federal data. There were 20 femicides, or murders of women due to their gender, over that period, up from 11 over the same period the year before.

Sonora was one of eight of Mexico’s 32 states that “concentrated 57.4% of the investigations for this crime in the country,” said Mexican Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez during a Monday press conference where the data was presented.

But not all women who are murdered are counted as femicides, and in some states very few are. For example, in the data presented by Rodríguez, Baja California had one of the lowest rates of femicide — just .32 for every 100,000 women — but federal  datashow that its rate of murdered women in general is the highest in the country through May.

Just six of the 152 women murdered there in that period were deemed femicides, according to federal data analyzed by KJZZ. In contrast, 20 of 66 were considered femicides in Sonora, which is several percentage points higher than the national figure.

Murphy Woodhouse was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.