Age, Sex, Race, and Arrest Trends for 12 of the Nation’s Largest Central Cities

  • Roland Chilton
Part of the Research in Criminology book series (RESEARCH CRIM.)


The demographic composition of most central cities in the United States has changed dramatically over the past 2 decades. Although their metropolitan areas have grown, many older central cities have been losing population since at least 1960. These population losses have been accompanied by changes in ethnic—especially racial—and age composition. Since the age-specific nature of most serious offenses is well known, we would expect such changes to have an impact on crime and arrest rates. The general conclusions of earlier efforts to assess the impact of demographic changes on U.S. crime rates was that the youthful population was decreasing and that this decrease in the proportion of young people would probably result in decreases in crime. (Chilton & Spielberger, 1971, Ferdinand, 1970; President’s Commission, 1967; Sagi & Wellford, 1968)


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  1. 1.
    These increases are approximate because a 1980 change in census procedures for classifying persons of Spanish Origin by race in 1980 produced white and nonwhite figures which were not comparable with census figures prior to 1980 (Census, 1983a; 1983b). The 1980 Census figures used in this analysis have been adjusted to make them comparable with 1960 and 1970 white and nonwhite counts. For a detailed discussion of the 1980 Census change and its impact on white and nonwhite rates, see Chilton and Sutton (in press).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Part I arrests for 1960 through 1980 included homicide, rape, robbery, assualt, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theftGoogle Scholar
  3. 7.
    Notable exceptions to this are studies by Block and Zimring (1973), Block (1975;1977), and Hindelang (1981).Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    For discussions of the social and economic status of central city black populations, see Bureau of the Census (1978) and Wilson (1980).Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Hirschi’s (1969) analysis of self-reported delinquency data, for example, virtually eliminates nonwhite respondents. In a footnote he indicates that “because of the greater unreliability of Negro data, partly stemming from their generally low verbal skills, the bulk of the analysis and the data presented in the remainder of this work is restricted to whites”, (p.79). The analysis of social class and delinquency which preceded this note was also limited to white males—the girls having been previously removed from the analysis.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

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  • Roland Chilton

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