WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Married Southern men are the most likely demographic of Americans to own firearms, with nearly two-thirds of Southern married men owning guns.

According to an analysis of Gallup polls from 2007 to 2012, gun ownership varies significantly by gender, region and marital status. More than three times more men than women – 45 percent compared to 15 percent – own guns. Thirty eight percent of Southerners were found likely to own guns, which is nearly 10 percent higher than the next highest in the Midwest.

Thirty seven percent of married people reported owning guns in comparison to 22 percent of non-married Americans.

These findings are based on aggregated data from six separate Gallup polls that asked about gun ownership — one each year from 2007 through 2012. The analyses presented here are based on interviews with more than 6,000 U.S. adults.

Gender is by far the strongest predictor of personally owning a gun. A statistical model shows the odds of a man owning a gun are five times greater than the odds of a woman owning a gun, once the influence of other factors related to gun ownership is taken into account.

Being from the South and being married are the next-most influential predictors; each is associated with 1.7 times greater odds of owning a gun than among those who are not married and among those who do not live in the South.

Being Hispanic and being from the East are associated with lower gun ownership, but on a relative basis, these are the next strongest predictors of gun ownership, followed by race, ideology, and age. Non-Hispanic whites (33 percent) are significantly more likely than nonwhites (22 percent) to own guns. Hispanics (18 percent) in particular show below-average gun ownership. Twenty-one percent of blacks own a gun.

And politics also figure into differences in gun ownership demographics.

While Republican party identification is associated with higher rates of gun ownership – 38 percent versus 22 percent for Democrats — the statistical model shows party is a weaker predictor of gun ownership, once other factors are taken into account. In other words, higher rates of Republican gun ownership likely result more from the fact that men, Southerners, and married people tend to identify as Republicans than from something about being a Republican drawing one to owning a gun.


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