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From 1970 through 2014, terrorists killed more than 310,000 people worldwide and injured another 355,000, according to data from the University of Maryland's Global Terrorism Database. More than half of those fatalities - approximately 170,000 or 55 percent - have occurred since 2000; about 30 percent have occurred since 2010. Every year since and including 2012 has set a new record in total global terrorist attacks (see chart at the bottom of the page) and with these new attacks, we may be witnessing a shift in some longer-term trends in terrorism as groups seek new geographic footholds and more lethal means of seeking their desired outcomes.

The most notable long-term trends in terrorist incidents since 1970 have been pronounced shift in the geographic dispersion of attacks as well as the impact of the attacks in terms of injuries and fatalities.

  • The Middle East and North Africa along with South and Southeast Asia have witnessed an increase of terrorism-related incidents and injuries, although Asia experienced a lesser increase in related deaths and injuries. The terrorism incidents in the Middle East and North Africa started a steady upswing in the early 2000s, whereas the data shows that Asia's uptick has been more pronounced since 2008.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, while a persistently violent region, has grappled with a historically dramatic increase in terrorism-related deaths as Boko Haram and others have become more lethal during the past couple of years.
  • In contrast, there has been a long-term downward trend in terrorism incidents in Europe; that is, until recently.

Explore the Global Terrorism Database summary data by selecting the indicator of terrorism activity from above the page and see the trends by selecting a country on the map.

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