Concentrated Disadvantage and Youth-On-Youth Homicide

Assessing the Structural Covariates Over Time

Published in: Homicide Studies, v. 9, no. 1, Feb. 2005, p. 30-54

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2004

by John MacDonald, Angela R. Gover

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Between the mid-1980s and early 1990s, there was an unprecedented growth in youth homicides. Numerous studies note the importance of measures of concentrated disadvantage in the social production of adult homicide. However, few studies have examined the relationship between these social ecological factors and homicides in which youth are both the perpetrators and victims. This research examines the impact of structural indicators of concentrated disadvantage on city-level rates of youth-on-youth homicide. Results indicate that concentrated disadvantage is associated with youth-on-youth homicide rates in large U.S. cities over time. The rise in these structural indicators of disadvantage is also associated with the increase in youth-on-youth homicide rates in U.S. cities in the early 1990s. The theoretical significance of these findings for substantive theories of youth violence and their social policy ramifications are discussed.

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