Thursday, January 03, 2013

European Murder Rates Compared to the United States: Demographics vs Guns

When the subject is gun control, those who demand more for the United States always point to Europe. Europe, they say, has more gun control than the United States, and lower murder rates. Europe, of course, is a diverse place. Some places have lots of guns and low murder rates. Some places have few guns and higher murder rates. The reason that many developed European countries have murder rates much lower than the United States is not guns or gun control. It is demographics.

In 2006 the Department of Justice issued a report on violent felons in large urban counties. It covered the period from 1990 to 2002, and included the 75 most populous counties in the United States. The study accounted for over half of all the murders in the United States in the covered period.

Revealed in the study was a simple breakdown of the demographics of the murderers that is not commonly available. Murderers were divided into three groups. Blacks were the most numerous at 46%. Hispanics were next at 27 percent. Non-Hispanic whites were last at 23 percent.

While the study does not account for all murders in the period studied, it accounts for more than half and almost certainly slightly understates the percentages of Black murderers, because the latest FBI statistics (for 2010) show that when all the murders in the U.S are taken into account, the percentage of Black murderers is over 53 percent.

No one would dispute that there are several distinct cultures among the American black population. No one would dispute that none of these cultures exist in Europe in any statistically significant numbers. Some of the Black American subcultures probably have very low murder rates. We cannot tell because we do not have the data to distinguish between them.

Similarly, there are a number of distinct Hispanic cultures in the United States. These are all derived from cultures in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. They are not Spanish or Portuguese. No one would argue that any statistical number of these populations exist in Europe. No doubt, some of these cultures also have very low murder rates, but without data, we cannot separate them out.

Where does that lead us? If we take the 23 percent figure for non-Hispanic whites to be representative for the entire population (remember, it is likely a good bit lower), then the number of murders committed by non-Hispanic and non-black people in the United States for 2010 would be 2989.

The population of non-Hispanic whites for 2010 was 196.8 million. Applying the 2989 murders to this population gives a murder rate of 1.52 per 100,000 population. We cannot get a more precise figure unless we have more demographic data than that given. Asian-Americans, for example, have historically had very low murder rates, but we do not have the data. The 1.52 per 100,000 murder rate is right in the middle of the murder rate of developed European countries. Add the Black and Hispanic numbers back into the mix and apply to the entire United States population, and the murder rate goes up to 4.8 per 100,000. Guns or gun control simply do not correlate to higher murder rates, particularly when you consider that non-Hispanic Whites own guns at much higher rates than do Blacks or Hispanics in the United States.

There are huge numbers of German-Americans, English-Americans, Greek-Americans, Italian-Americans, Scandinavian and Swiss-Americans in the United States. There are no statistically significant numbers of African-American or Hispanic-Americans in Europe.

As a check, you might consider a non-European example. Japan has extreme gun control and extremely low murder rates. The FBI used to track murders by Japanese-Americans before 1980, when access to firearms was relatively easy.  The murder rate of Japanese Americans was less than half that of Japanese in Japan.

Murder rates are driven by cultural background, not by the instrument used.

European murder and gun ownership rates: Link

Department of Justice Study with demographic data: Link

FBI homicide statistics, 2010: Link

Japanese and Japanese American murder rates: Link

Household Gun Ownership Rates: Link

Link to Teen Homicides by Ethnicity, 2010 
"In 2010, the homicide rate for black male teens was 51.7 per 100,000, more than 22 times higher than the rate for white male teens (2.4 per 100,000). Rates for other groups were 17.9 per 100,000 for Hispanic males, 11.9 per 100,000 for American Indian males, and 3.2* per 100,000 for Asian and Pacific Islander males. (Figure 3)"

Update: Here is a chart showing murder rates during the Middle Ages in Europe. Murder rates then were close to what is seen in African American cultures in the United States today, indicating that it is a cultural, not a racial relationship.
 Link: Homicide Rates Before Guns?

Update: Murder victims in DC support the hypothesis, given that the vast majority of murder is intraracial:

In fact, white residents face a lower homicide victim rate in the District than the nation as a whole. Nationally, 2.7 white residents are homicide victims per 100,000 white residents. But, among DC white residents, this figure is lower both when looking at data from either of the most recent two years (zero and 1.3 in 2009 and 2010, respectively) or the latest 5-year average (1.5). 
Here is a Yale study showing that cultural links are the biggest factor in predicting homicides:

Yale Study Shows Culture the biggest factor in Homicide (2013)
 Overall, the community's five-year homicide rate was 39.7 per 100,000 people, which was still much higher than the averages of other areas of Chicago (14.7 per 100,000). But being a part of that network of co-offenders, essentially just being arrested, raised the rate to by nearly 50 percent, to 55.2 per 100,000. What's more, being in a network with a homicide victim increased the homicide rate by 900 percent, to 554.1 per 100,000.

Here is some more data from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (CDC).  This data covers the period 1999  to 2007:

Tables for Homicide rates 1999 to 2007 by ethnicity:

Link to article with above graph

Update: Article that shows that mass murderers are not committed disproportionately by white men:

Link to article: Are Most Mass Murderers Really White?

Update: Family Structure and crime

Although there is a large disparity between the crime rates of whites and those of African-Americans,14 any perception that this is based solely on racism quickly evaporates when family structure is considered in the data. When researchers control for marriage, the rates of crime for whites and blacks in each family group are very similar.
Update: Another author comes to the same conclusion, but when you factor in illegal aliens, the murder rate drops even further.

Murder Most Swedish at the American Thinker

©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

25 comments: said...

A study by the late psychologist Arthur Jensen demonstrated that nearly all violent crime is committed by persons with IQs between 70 and 90, regardless of ethnicity.

Ethnic groups with low IQs tend to commit more violent crimes.

Dean Weingarten said...

A retired police officer talked to me about the article. He said "Any police officer could have told you that. We all know it, but we are not allowed to say it. We would be called racist and would be risking our job."

joe_g said...

I disagree with the conclusion, Murder rates are driven by cultural background, not by the instrument used. Culture cannot explain black murder rates. Blacks have been living in the same culture with whites in North America and in England. Yet black violent crime rates are always at least 10 times the white rate. Black crime is much more "nature" than "nurture".

Anonymous said...

"Ethnic groups with low IQs tend to commit more violent crimes"...low IQs cross all ethnic lines so please explain why it would be called racist...unless of course one ethnic group would be singled out, then yes it would be racist

Dean Weingarten said...

The vast majority of black crime is in very small areas in urban ghettos, with virtually no white people. The culture there has devolved into default mode, tribalism, now called "gangs". Anyone in the gang deserves some consideration, all outside of it are "the enemy" and are simply prey to be used.

Remove Judeo/Christian morality, remove the family stucture, remove economic incentives for good behaviour, this is what you get.

Anonymous said...

Guns don't kill people. Brown people do.

Anonymous said...

As far as I remember, the school mass murders in the U.S. were all committed by white males ...

Anonymous said...

Interesting study. But I fear that the comparison isn't valid with respect to other developed countries because they too have their own minorities and demographics that commit more crimes on average. For instance, Canada has a large native minority as well as their own hispanic, black, south asian, etc. communities. UK also has a large number of blacks and south asians. Switzerland takes in many Balkan immigrants. And so on.

@joe_g - Most American Blacks have little to do culturally with American Whites. Culture is definitively a key driver.

While Canada doesn't keep tabs on crime by race, they do have data on proportion of offenders. Blacks make up 2.5% of the Canadian population while their share of homicide offenses is 3.1% (5.5% for all crimes). This is only 20% above the average, while in the USA the black murder rate is 400-500% higher than the average. Obviously, the intrinsic skin color of the individual doesn't explain his likelihood of committing a crime.

Mark Luhman said...

Ethnicity disappears when you take in account marital status of the mother, Young males without a father in the home is the problem.

Dean Weingarten said...

That would be interesting to see a study on. If fits with my suggestion that the high murder rates come from young males devolving to "tribal" culture in gangs.

This seems much more likely without a stable father in the family.

Chumgrinder said...

Anonymous: "As far as I remember, the school mass murders in the U.S. were all committed by white males …"

So what's your point? School mass murders are a TINY subset of the murder and violent crime total.

You can cherry-pick any special subset of crime you like to get the results you want. It's like arguing that the Chinese are responsible for the vast majority of female infanticide. Equally true, yet equally irrelevant.

If you don't believe there is truth in this article, visit here and play with the maps yourself:

Ironically, what isn't irrelevant about your observation is that the government and the media go ballistic only when cute white kids get killed. Black kids killing black kids for the past 40 years, oh well, ho hum.

Yukondave said...

Even though the black community represents 13% of the total population they make up over half of the murder victims in 2010 and 2011.

How did gun control affect each racial group in the US differently?

Could this be better understood looking at the W2 income of the victim?

White median net worth ($113,149) in the US is 22 times that of Black median net worth ($6,325) in 2010.

United States non-black population & non-black murders
2011 / 2.27 / 272 million / 6,194
2010 / 2.41 / 270 million / 6,529

United States total population & total murders
2011 / 4.06 / 311 million / 12,664
2010 / 4.26 / 308 million / 13,164

Dean Weingarten said...

It is likely that cultures with low impulse control and lack of concern for future consequences would show a negative correlation to net worth and a positive correlation to murder rates.

It is reasonable that high murder rates and low net worth are both driven by the same causative factors independent of race.

Anonymous said...

what aload of bollcoks the reason isnt "black culture" as you all claim. USA had an apartheid system for many many years which only got fully abolished in the civil rights era. Now if you think all these people are just going to be automatically on the same economic level as the rest of the country immediately after they were granted equal rights your brain dead and have no understand of why social problems exist. The damage done during segregation/ apartheid will last for years and years ( just as it will with south africa) What the u.s government has done is inadvertently created an underclass in america which is mostly defined by race.

Dean Weingarten said...

Part of what you are saying exactly reinforces the thesis that culture, rather than the presence of guns, is the determining factor for homicide rates.

Where do you think current black cultures in America came from, if not from slavery, black codes, racism, and later, great society, victim worship, and misguided welfare programs? They are certainly different than black cultures in other places, and there is not one unified "black culture" in the United States.

Other races in this country, with other cultures, such as Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese, have become prosperous in America while facing racism, and have very low homicide rates.

Jamaicans have a different culture and do better economically than native born black Americans.

You cannot explain everything away by race, racism and economics.

Consider that in the middle ages, white Europeans had murder rates similar to those in the black ghettos today.

The common factor is a lack of faith in the efficacy of the rule of law, which has a number of sources.

Change that part of the culture, hard to do, but not impossible, and the homicide rates and overall crime rates, will be reduced.

Dean Weingarten said...

This study seems to reinforce Mark Luhman's thesis:

Bill Cosby Was Right: ‘Very Strong’ Statistical Link Between Fatherlessness, Gun Homicides

I would bet that there is an even stronger link simply to homicides.

"Gun homicides" is a propaganda term.

AgainstPC said...

Hi Dean !

it is fashionable to explain crime with low IQs but a person's personality cannot be reduced to it. I see IQ more as a consequence than a cause.

I've done some research regarding race and crime in the United States and I've come up with some datas.

Stats shows that blacks are more likely than any other races to commit violent crimes however black crime over the last years has registered a significant drop even higher than white crime !

Between 1991 and 2012, according to SHR data, the black murder rate declined 53% while the white rate 41%. Moreover UCRs from the FBI show that between 1992-2012 the black rate for rape, burglary, aggravated assault, robbery and finally violent crime had a respective decline of 75%, 52%, 53%, 64% and 59% while the white rate for these offenses had a decline of 53%, 42%, 30%, 43% and 34%.
As for interracial crimes, it is undeniable that the majority of them are committed by blacks but it is also true that black-on-white crimes had a bigger drop than other way around. Indeed NCVS data show that between 1994 and 2008 the first category declined 69% while the latter 35%.

I stumbled upon this article called "Great Black Hope" which explains the drop by a certain change of attitudes among black male youth

I would like to know your opinion on it.

It's very paradoxical that in a black majority city like DC whites have lower murder victimizations rate than on average ! I would like to know if it's the same with Detroit or New Orleans.


Unknown said...

The vast majority of gun murders about 9000 out of 11,300 in 2013 were committed by someone the victim knew. Of which the majority were committed near or around the neighborhood the victim lived in.

This obsession with black versus white crime misses the whole point. If anyone is getting murdered by a gun in the US it gives us a very high ranking of 4.5 murders per 100,000 in the US. What you did not say was how many European murders were committed by non-white-Europeans.

But once again, who cares, there were 32 people who died in the US yesterday and another 32-40 will die today as its the weekend murder rate on Saturday. Saturday night special . Anyone gun lover or non gun lover must be embarrassed by the high crime rate in our country. Its sickening.

What's the solution, its called leadership and education. Guns must be banned from those who have mental illness, previous felony charges, etc. If you are not a citizen in good standing, you cannot own a gun.

Gun rights are not granted by the 2nd Amendment, our founding fathers did not say hey don't defend our 13 colonies as you have no right to own a gun. Bunk. The right to own a gun comes from the English Natural Law, which says men in good standing have a right to defend their homes and family. That's it, you can tear up the constitution and we would still have gun, obviously Europeans own guns, they hunt, as do Canadiens. The minority population in Europe of Blacks and Asians is not much less than US. So making an assumption that all European murders are committed by Whites is highly inaccurate. Its about 45-50% murders by whites the rest by African and Middle Eastern inner city Europeans. Its not race, its lack of opportunity and mental illness.

Anonymous said...

Yep! All set up by the government to demonize white responsible gun further the gun control agenda.

Peter Towers said...

Race, race, race. No, it's not race. Black or Latino people are not "culturally" more prone to violence or murder. Yet there are segments within the primarily black population that are statistically significantly over represented in the murder statistics. What's the common denomination? Poverty, yes, but that's not enough reason. There are plenty of poor and non-violent people. It's all due the war on drugs and anti-gun policies. Believe me, there are plenty of law abiding black people who want to arm themselves to being able to fight back against the leaching hoodlums in the hood. Law abiding black people are just as disgusted by the menace of black crime as anybody else. My black grandma who could never afford to move out of the hood, has been cussing about these little criminals all of her life locking her doors living like a prisoner in her own home.

I wish we had some hard numbers, but suffice say, based on the geographical location of murders which is traceable, the vast majority of killings that occur in the black neighborhood are drug related, and committed by underage young men using illegal acquired weapons. Do these young men belong to the black (or Latino) community? Sure. Are they representative of "black culture". No, they are representatives if inner city youth drug-slinging criminal culture.

In a similar way, we can ask us of murdering Italian mafiosos are part of Italian culture? Sure. Are they good representatives for Italian culture in general. No, because the average Italian doesn't extort, kidnap and murder people as part of their lifestyle. Italian Mafia lifestyle is CRIMINAL culture first, Italian second. Drug-selling inner city culture in the black neighborhood is CRIMINAL first, black second.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous statement. If a certain group is doing more killing, then of course that group is "more prone" to killing.

Unknown said...

Facts are facts; blacks commit a wildly disproportionate number of murders. Argue the reasons for this all day, if you like, but I'll add one that I haven't seen aired. 1. If you herd enormous populations into inner city ghettos, where there's no hope for a fraction of the work necessary for them to sustain themselves, and 2. Then disincentivise the pursuit of gainful employment, the two-parent family structure, and the consequences of self-destructive behavior, and 3. Erect a grievance industry that justifies every social pathology imaginable, while scapegoating the majority population in a way that tells blacks that the system is hopelessly rigged against them and that poverty and crime are their lot, you 4. Just may get lots of crime, murder, and general mayhem.

Is any of this really a surprise? Thanks liberals. Thanks Democrats. This is on you, though I truly marvel at how adept you are at blaming the right, when in fact most of these hell holes haven't seen a Republican within 50 miles for decades. Idiots.

Peter Towers said...

My point, which is not not an argument against the fact that black criminal youth are doing the most killing (or that liberal policies have a huge hand in this), but that majority of black people are not criminals. Most black people don't live in the inner city, and even the ones that do, they are also not mostly criminals. To state that this is a "black problem" is to be blind to the very facts you just pointed out. Bad liberal politics. Also, the whole concept of "black culture" is flawed. The inner city is only a sub-segment, a media imagery, of "black culture" to the extent it even exist. When Africa is portrayed in the media, all you see are natives and kids with bloated stomachs, or violent fighters with AK's. Nothing about the modern cities and the large working and middle class that live their lives in homes similar to our own. Brazil, again, all you hear about are the favelas (Brazilian ghettos). Yet 55% of Brazilians identify as African and far from all live in the favelas. Only a tiny sub-segment, in fact. The same apply to roughly 40 million black people in the US that do not live in the ghetto and that are not criminals. Most of us have as much in common with your average murdering drug slinging black street thug, as the average white person has in common with a tattooed meth cooking felon in New Mexico.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't argue with any of that. Had the liberal policies I mentioned been inflicted on any group, the result would probably be much the same. But, it seems to me, there is also an unfortunate feedback loop that does exacerbate the issue.

Whites have been largely silenced on the topic of black crime, or other inner-city pathologies, for fear of being labeled racist. The much heralded 'national conversation on race' is decidedly one-sided. And while you're right that the majority of blacks are not criminals, the majority does seem to rally in defense of their own in every racial controversy, regardless of the truth of the matter.

Witness Fergusen: Michael Brown could have been chartreuse, and he was going to get shot by that cop. What voices are there out there telling the troubled portion of the black community to get their crap together? From the president on down, it seems like the black majority are lockstep enablers. A white guy sneezes on a black guy and there are marches in the streets; black gangs kill thousands in one city alone, and silence. That just emboldens the thugs, and, frankly, has used up the moral high ground the civil rights movement once enjoyed. Aside from effete liberal squishes, white America is simply over it; The sympathy well is dry.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ralph Welsh who has given psychological examinations to over 2,000 delinquents, has developed what he calls. "The Belt Theory of Juvenile Delinquency." Dr. Welsh tells us: "The recidivist male delinquent who has never been exposed to the belt, extension cord or fist at some time in his life is virtually non-existent. As the severity of corporal punishment in the delinquent's developmental history increases, so does the probability that he will engage in a violent act."

Degree of physical punishment: Never Rare Moderate Severe Extreme
Violent inmates at San Quentin 0% 0% 0% 0% 100%
Juvenile Delinquents 0% 2% 3% 31% 64%
High School drop-outs 0% 7% 23% 69% 0%
College freshmen 2% 23% 40% 33% 0%
Professionals 5% 40% 36% 17% 0%