California: Record-high Youth Numbers, Record-high Diversity, Record-Low Youth Crime

California: Record-high Youth Numbers, Record-high Diversity, Record-Low Youth Crime

July 12, 2010

Never has California had more youth, no place has more racial diversity (68% of Californians under age 18 are Latino, Asian, Black, Native, or other categories not of European origin, up from 23%in 1960). At the same time, the stateCriminal Justice Statistics Center‘s new figures show both serious and misdemeanor crime rates have fallen to the lowest level ever recorded. That is, contrary to the panic-mongering “experts” like Northeastern University’s constantly quoted James Alan Fox and his media worshippers, more youth and more diversity means less crime.

But the fact that experts were wrong again on youths, as they so often are, doesn’t mean you’ll hear anything about this massive teenage crime drop from officials or mainstream or alternative media. Bizarre as it sounds, these experts, interest groups, and news media need more youth crime to push their own agendas–that is, declines actually are bad news.

In the real world, of course, California’s crime trends (also reflected to a lesser extent in national youth crime rates) are a tremendously hopeful development as the United States moves toward a multicultural global society. As California’s teenage youth population rose by 3 million over the last 50 years through 2009, total and felony crime levels among youth fell to their lowest trough ever recorded, and violent crime fell to its lowest rate since 1971. Even this impressive trend understates California’s true youth crime decline, since many violent, property, drug, and other youth crimes in the 1950s and ’60s were masked under vague, general “status offense” or “delinquent tendency” charges.

California’s numbers–and you get them all on this site, from the first in 1954 to the most recent in 2009, speak for themselves. This is an enormous social trend, and it demands more attention.

California youth crime rates by offense, population size, and racial diversity, 1950s-2009*

Rates of arrest per 100,000 population age 10-17 for: Population age 10-17
Year All offenses  Felonies Misdemeanor/status Violent crime Property crime millions Percent nonwhite
1950 1.012
1.050
1.100
1.150
1,316.4 1.200
55 1,479.4 1.250
1,595.3 1.400
9,353.4 1,687.3 7,666.1 191.2 1,417.1 1.550
8,628.3 1,612.3 7,016.0 179.3 1,366.2 1.750
8,242.6 1,412.2 6,830.4 167.7 1,179.8 1.950
1960 8,392.9 1,586.7 6,806.2 178.1 1,274.9 2.115 22.7%
8,350.3 1,498.5 6,851.8 169.8 1,270.8 2.205 23.2%
8,918.6 1,589.3 7,329.3 182.0 1,355.9 2.296 23.9%
10,000.4 1,700.3 8,300.1 193.7 1,458.4 2.384 24.8%
10,676.5 1,873.4 8,803.1 199.9 1,604.0 2.466 25.7%
65 10,716.8 1,820.0 8,896.8 181.0 1,542.3 2.542 26.7%
11,613.4 1,991.2 9,622.1 199.3 1,605.7 2.610 27.6%
12,124.3 2,427.2 9,697.1 235.0 1,698.1 2.667 28.6%
13,493.5 3,312.2 10,181.3 289.8 1,951.2 2.716 29.6%
14,310.1 3,668.8 10,641.3 322.5 2,037.4 2.754 30.6%
1970 12,591.5 3,301.4 9,290.1 310.6 1,817.5 3.041 26.6%
11,120.0 3,305.5 7,814.5 356.1 1,865.1 3.123 28.6%
10,108.4 3,259.4 6,848.9 429.2 1,836.5 3.171 30.3%
11,083.4 3,700.0 7,383.5 475.6 1,908.1 3.206 31.8%
12,663.9 4,173.9 8,490.0 528.4 2,201.0 3.223 33.3%
75 11,520.2 3,970.2 7,550.0 551.0 2,291.7 3.220 34.7%
11,047.2 3,230.0 7,817.2 514.2 2,213.3 3.189 36.0%
9,893.4 3,246.1 6,647.2 511.6 2,283.8 3.150 37.1%
9,215.1 3,258.3 5,956.7 500.4 2,280.8 3.100 38.1%
9,741.6 3,312.5 6,429.0 551.4 2,246.2 3.054 39.1%
1980 9,380.4 3,193.7 6,186.7 555.6 2,138.5 3.049 40.2%
8,684.8 2,993.1 5,691.7 525.1 1,992.7 3.108 42.6%
7,955.0 2,715.0 5,240.1 453.6 1,815.9 3.110 45.0%
7,049.6 2,288.3 4,761.3 390.1 1,472.0 3.111 47.3%
7,213.8 2,228.3 4,985.5 377.1 1,372.6 3.096 49.2%
85 7,436.0 2,367.1 5,068.9 394.8 1,477.8 3.106 50.8%
7,567.5 2,444.4 5,123.1 396.7 1,484.7 3.117 52.1%
7,178.5 2,362.2 4,816.3 391.5 1,420.8 3.115 53.0%
7,405.6 2,609.3 4,796.3 448.7 1,585.2 3.095 53.7%
7,722.6 2,885.8 4,836.8 561.6 1,721.8 3.085 54.0%
1990 7,536.2 2,839.3 4,696.9 641.9 1,670.6 3.218 54.8%
7,366.9 2,812.8 4,554.0 635.4 1,650.3 3.330 55.6%
7,163.5 2,709.1 4,454.4 624.5 1,558.1 3.451 56.6%
7,208.3 2,599.0 4,609.4 610.1 1,442.8 3.539 57.5%
7,142.2 2,548.5 4,593.7 626.1 1,349.6 3.610 58.2%
95 6,950.4 2,316.4 4,634.0 596.2 1,225.9 3.672 58.8%
7,327.8 2,288.7 5,039.1 590.3 1,201.2 3.742 59.4%
7,223.1 2,161.5 5,061.6 548.6 1,080.6 3.828 60.0%
6,931.1 1,954.0 4,977.2 504.1 961.9 3.895 60.7%
6,703.1 1,729.0 4,974.1 476.2 829.1 3.962 61.3%
2000 5,963.3 1,567.3 4,396.0 407.5 745.2 4.076 61.7%
5,713.0 1,520.2 4,192.8 417.3 706.5 4.210 62.2%
5,294.7 1,418.9 3,875.8 365.8 641.4 4.337 62.9%
5,014.0 1,366.8 3,647.1 354.9 605.3 4.454 63.7%
4,794.1 1,315.8 3,478.3 341.0 558.4 4.550 64.5%
2005 4,734.1 1,323.4 3,410.6 337.3 524.5 4.621 65.2%
4,996.3 1,398.8 3,597.5 366.5 551.5 4.660 66.0%
5,086.6 1,421.5 3,665.1 387.6 544.1 4.656 66.7%
4,972.6 1,410.0 3,562.6 380.3 546.5 4.607 67.3%
4,510.4 1,290.2 3,220.1 339.0 498.1 4.538 67.7%
2010

*Note: Violent crimes are murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault; property crimes are burglary, felony theft, motor vehicle theft, and check/credit-card fraud. Population age 10-17 is in millions. Percent nonwhite refers to the percent that is Latino, Asian, Black, Native, or of other non-European origin. Blank cells indicate no data are available for those years, all in the 1950s, when state crime and population reports were less complete.