A Riot of Color

The Demographic Setting

Published in: The Los Angeles Riots: Lessons for the Urban Future / M. Baldassare (ed.) (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1994), Chapter 2, p. 19-46

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1994

by Peter A. Morrison, Ira S. Lowry

The Los Angeles riots of 1992 were examined in the context of changing demographic and socioeconomic conditions. There was not support for the notion that the disturbance was a rebellion of Blacks against Whites. In fact, the ethnic composition of the area in question was mixed, and over 50% of those arrested were Hispanics. The main thesis of this demographic analysis was that the setting was conducive to the resulting conflict; the preconditions for South Central's riots were ethnic conflict and competition for limited resources and the availability of large numbers of young men ready to participate in unrest.

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