Friday, April 27, 2007

Race and murder in the United States

Linda Thom:

Because of the recent murders committed by a Korean immigrant, much discussion in the media surrounds gun control, violence on campus and mentally ill people.

Virtually no discussion, needless to say, surrounds immigration and violent crime.

Good data on immigrants and crime is notoriously hard to get. But health statistics from the Centers for Disease Control help. It a nutshell: they show that the Hispanic population engages in a high level of violent behavior. Young Asians generally behave much like their non-Hispanic, white counterparts—with the possible exception of some young males.

The government numbers come from vital statistics collected at the local level. Sometimes mistakes occur in reporting Hispanic ethnicity, especially on death certificates. Nevertheless, the numbers are consistent and plentiful so that conclusions can be drawn.

Death by homicide is my first data set. Why do I look at the victims and not the perpetrators? Because death certificates contain reasonably reliable information about race and ethnicity. And, generally speaking, people murder their own people—as the numbers will show.

In, ­Deaths: Leading Causes for 2003, homicide is listed as the 7th leading cause of death among Hispanics; 21st for non-Hispanic whites and 6th for non-Hispanic blacks. For Asian/Pacific Islanders, homicide is not among the top ten causes of death.

This is somewhat misleading however, as Hispanics are younger than the white and black populations. When adjusted for age, blacks have the highest homicide rate, followed by Hispanics, Native Americans, then Asians and, last, whites.

After Virginia Tech: Are 60,000 Missing Foreign Students A Security Risk?

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