Toward a Contextual Understanding of the Connection Between Race and Domestic Violence

Michael L. Benson, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

National surveys often report higher rates of domestic violence in African-American families. However, little effort has been devoted to understanding the correlation between race and domestic violence. In particular, insufficient attention has been paid to the possibility that the correlation of race and domestic violence is systematically confounded with important differences in community contexts. Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households and tract-level data from the 1990 U.S. Census, this paper investigates whether the higher rate of domestic violence in African-American families is due to their disproportionate residency in disadvantaged neighborhoods and also to high levels of economic distress in African-American families.

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Updated 05/20/2006