This documented briefing, originally given at the June 1996 meeting of the Homicide Research Working Group, explores the question of whether California faces an impending wave of violence from its increasing number of young people. The future depends on a key uncertainty: will children of coming generations be more violent than today's adolescents? A pessimistic assumption is that children born from 1977 on will face age-specific homicide arrest rates 3 percent higher than the preceding year's birth cohort. A more optimistic future assumes arrest rates will decline by 1 percent in each successive birth cohort, so that the year 2021 will have a 14 percent decrease in homicide arrest rate. A nominal assumption is that each cohort will have an age-specific arrest rate that is about 1 percent higher than the preceding cohort. In the latter case, California's homicide arrest rate in 2021 will be about 28 percent higher than it is today. The key finding is that what lies in store of California depends on the upbringing of young Californians today and tomorrow.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Documented briefing series. RAND documented briefings are based on research presented to a client, sponsor, or targeted audience in briefing format. Additional information is provided in the documented briefing in the form of the written narration accompanying the briefing charts. All RAND documented briefings undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity. However, they are not expected to be comprehensive and may present preliminary findings. Major research findings are published in the monograph series; supporting or preliminary research is published in the technical report series.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.