Homicide is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Brazil, where three of every 1,000 teens will be murdered before reaching 19, a report released here Thursday says.

On current trends, 36,735 Brazilians between the ages of 12 and 18 will be slain over the next three years.

The index of murders of adolescents rose from 2.61 per every 1,000 teenagers in 2009 to 2.98 per 1,000 the following year, according to report from the Presidential Human Rights Office, Unicef and a Brazilian NGO.

The rate was calculated by researchers at Rio de Janeiro State University based on crime statistics for Brazil's 283 cities with populations of more than 100,000.

More than 45 percent of all deaths among Brazilian adolescents can be attributed to violence, the study concludes.

The comparable figure for the population at large is 5.1 percent.

Male teens are 11.5 times more likely to be murdered than females, while Afro-Brazilian adolescents face a nearly three times greater risk of violent death than their white contemporaries.

Poverty is also a major contributing factor.

The teen murder rate is 0.94 per 1,000 in Sao Paulo state, Brazil's wealthiest region, compared with more than 9 homicides for every 1,000 adolescents in dirt-poor Alagoas. EFE