Relationship Between Age Structure and Homicide Rates in the United States, 1970-1999

Julie A. Phillips, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT
The nature of the temporal association between age structure and homicide rates between 1970 and 1999 is examined using U.S. county data. Specifically, I ask whether (1) the strong temporal association between the relative size of the young population and homicide rates demonstrated at the U.S. national level holds at a disaggregated level and (2) the association between the proportion young and homicide rates differs by varying social and economic conditions? The results confirm that a strong temporal association between age composition and homicide rates exists within U.S. counties. However, the analysis reveals that other criminogenic forces, such as poor social and economic conditions that produce higher crime rates, can attenuate the otherwise strong association between the relative size of the young population and homicide rates.

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Updated 05/20/2006