Friday, December 04, 2009

And now for some statistics

Decided to check out the statistics on crime vs. race in the US cities. While doing so picked up some interesting trivia, and added more stuff to the table (nativity, language, education, median household income and poverty rate).

There are 34 cities with more than half a million population in the US. One of them, Chicago, still hasn't learned to calculate its crime rate, so I didn't include it.

I was not sure whether to count hispanics separately, as used to be traditional, or together with whatever race they actually are, so I did both, like the US Census Bureau. The population data come from the American Community Survey, which is a survey they do to complement the data between the censuses. For one city, Louisville, I had to make up the numbers of non-hispanic whites, because it wasn't available, but it was easy and correct to about one percentage point, because they don't really have almost any hispanics there.

The crime data are FBI's for 2007. The numbers are crime rates for 100000 people.

The table is sortable.

I'll write more comments later, but here are the first few:

- The first thing that surprised me was how few people claim to be of two or more races, in comparison with what you see in the streets. Except in Honolulu, where they don't seem to care.

- I'd known that there is a negative correlation between the number of hispanics and the violent crime rate, but I didn't realize it was that strong.

- The correlation between the percentage of people below the poverty line and violent crime is not nearly as strong as I expected.

- Some things are kind of obvious: the positive correlation between number of blacks and crime is well known, and the negative correlation between the number of immigrants and crime rates is understandable too: you come to the US, you wanna move somewhere nice, as opposed to Detroit. Some things are quite interesting, though: for example Louisville is much poorer than Boston, much blacker, and very much less educated, yet much safer. El Paso is a very poor, very hispanic and very safe city.

- It's interesting that the cities with a non-hispanic white majority tend towards the middle of the table when ranked by safety.

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