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Concentrated Poverty, Race, and Homicide

Matthew R. Lee
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Spring, 2000), pp. 189-206
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4121020
Page Count: 18
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Concentrated Poverty, Race, and Homicide
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Abstract

Research on the link between levels of poverty and homicide in urban areas has persistently reported the existence of a relationship for whites but not for blacks. This is despite the fact that most analysts expect that the higher levels of urban black homicide are due in part to the higher levels of urban black poverty. The present research introduces a more meaningful, spatially based measure of concentrated poverty and argues that the effect of concentrated poverty on homicide rates should be the same for both racial groups. The hypotheses are tested with race-disaggregated data for a sample of central cities circa 1990. The results suggest that, when poverty is measured as a linear spatially based phenomenon, it is a more important determinant of race-specific homicide rates than overall city levels of disadvantage and that the concentration of poverty increases both black and white homicide rather equally.

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