Crime Down Among First-Generation Immigrants, Rises With Second-Generation


Bersani began her analysis by noting a well-documented trend among immigrants: The crime rate among first-generation immigrants is much lower than the crime rate of the second generation. It’s even lower for immigrants in their teens and early 20s, the ages when criminal involvement usually peaks. 

However, one generation later, the crime rates rises drastically, and is ‘virtually identical’  to the crime rate among native-born Americans. Bersani found that a quarter of 16-year-old native-born and second-generation immigrants have committed crimes in the past year. In comparison, 17% of immigrant 16-year-olds have broken the law. 

The difference can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Researchers suggest that the generations face two unique experiences, which accounts for the dramatic increase in crime rates. “Second generation is caught between conflicting family and social values and expectations,” the report reads, “And one result of this old world/new world conflict is a great propensity to commit crime.”

Read about how environment affects the crime rate on page 3 >>>

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Associate Editor

Cristina Mari Arreola is the Associate Editor. Originally from El Paso, Texas, she earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to New York City. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or frantically reading a novel from her (extremely lengthy) reading list. See what she's reading now on Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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