This thesis explore unemployment rates, poverty rates and race as possible determinants of crime in 100 U.S. cities varying in size and population composition. Unemployment rates for the city as a whole and for blacks, in particular, were used along with raw numbers of all individuals unemployed as predictors of crime rates. Poverty rates of different populationsn were also used. Race, as a variable, was used as a third major predictor, measuerd by the total number of black female headed households. Data on (1) unemployment, (2) poverty and (3) race were gathered from the 1990 Census. The crimes being examined include robbery, larceny and murder. FBI arrest rate data were used to determine the number of arrests made for each crime. Previous studies containing the elements of unemployment, poverty and race are mixed in their results. Anomie/strain theory and control theory are used to provide a theoretical perspective to explain the relationships which occur between the bariables. Data from frequencies, a zero-order Person' correlation and multiple regressions were gathered in order to determine the relationship, if any, between the independent variables of unemployment, poverty and race and the dependent variables of arrest rates for murder, larceny and robbery. The arrest rate for larceny was shown to be positively correlated with the percent of blacks living in poverty (Sig .0475). Significant inverse zero-order relationships existed between the arrest rates for larceny and the total number of unemployed individuals (Sig .021) and the toal population of blacks within the city (Sig .011). Robbery was also shown to have a somewhat significant inverse correlation with the percentage of black female headed households (Sig .0635). These relationships are discussed in the following text.


Hurst, Charles


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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