Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Age Distribution of Violent Offending: Trends and Patterns of the Age-Crime Curve

Darrell Steffensmeier, Pennsylvania State University
Stephen Demuth, Bowling Green State University

Despite the centrality of age, race, and ethnicity in the criminological literature, significant gaps exist in the research addressing these issues. Notably, there is (1) a scarcity of research which includes Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans in analyses of racial/ethnic differences in crime and (2) an overall lack of research which examines variations in the age distribution of violent crime both over time and across population subgroups. This study uses relative distribution methods and other demographic techniques to examine California arrest statistics on violent crime over the 1980-2000 period to investigate: (1) changes in the age distribution of violent criminal offending over the 1980-2000 period, (2) racial-ethnic patterns of violent crime and changes in those patterns over the 1980-2000 period, and (3) joint effects of age and race-ethnicity on criminal offending both cross-sectionally and over time.

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Presented in Session 141: Demography, Crime, and Incarceration