What are the White homicide rates by U.S. state? Steve Sailer wonders. It is trickier than you’d think: The U.S. government does not separate Hispanics from Whites for purposes of counting crime. Hispanics commit more murders, and this inflates the apparent ‘White’ murder rate.
One Sailer commenter, who uses the handle “Perspective”, provides a link to 1960 data, which I reproduce in table form below.
Usefuless of 1960 Data
Using 1960 data greatly mitigates the ‘Hispanic inflation’ problem that befuddles inquiry into White crime rates today. The USA was less than 4% Hispanic in 1960, with most then concentrated in the states bordering Mexico. Most states’ White murder-rate figures for 1960 will not be affected at all by ‘Hispanic inflation’. This may be as clear a view as we’ll get of “murder rates for Whites by state”. Upper-Midwest and New-England Whites are amazingly peaceful.
Comparisons to Today
Audacious Epigone attempted to calculate White murder rates by state in the 2000s. With caveats that these are not apple-to-apple comparisons (methods of data collection/reporting may differ, and the Hispanic-Inflation issue, and the trickier but fascinating issue of advances in trauma medicine 1960-2010, see the discussion about trauma medicine in “Observations”, below) here is a table of the data from 1960, along with AE’s for the 2000s.
The table is ranked from the states with most-dangerous Whites in 1960 to the state with the least-dangerous Whites in 1960. Below the table are some observations, analysis, and thoughts.
White Murder Rates By State, 1960
|White Murder Rate in 1960
(White homicides per 100k Whites) (CDC)
Rate, 2000s (Epigone)
|3||Nex Mexico||5.8||6.6 (+1.0)|
|9||South Carolina||4.4||3.5 (-0.9)|
|11||North Carolina||4.1||2.9 (-1.2)|
|12||District of Columbia||4.1||12.4 (+8.3)|
|17||West Virginia||3.7||3.1 (-0.6)|
|—||USA Whites Overall||2.7||???|
|28||Washington state||2.2||2.4 (+0.2)|
|32||New York||2.0||2.4 (+0.4)|
|40||South Dakota||1.4||1.2 (-0.2)|
|42||New Jersey||1.4||2.3 (+0.9)|
|44||Rhode Island||1.3||1.8 (+0.5)|
|46||New Hampshire||1.2||0.9 (-0.3)|
|51||North Dakota||0.8||1.2 (+0.4)|
Data Source: Thanks to a Steve Sailer commenter named “Perspective” for the PDF. The document is called “Homicide in the United States, 1950-1964” (published in 1967 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare). Data is from Table 2, which is page 19 of the PDF (marked as p.14 on the original document).
— What do the Japan of 1960 and the White-America of 1960 have in common? Among other things, perhaps, their murder-rates, which were almost exactly the same in 1960. (White-Americans: 2.7, Japan: 2.8). Japan’s has since declined to ~1.0, where it has been for the past twenty years.
— Hispanic-Inflation of the 2000s figures from Audacious Epigone. Hispanic-Inflation is apparent and significant in many states in AE’s data, especially California. It is not realistic to believe that California Whites have gotten so much more prone to murder since 1960. Is it? The same for Arizona and New Mexico? All are states with soaring Hispanic populations. The government data AE uses, then, is a bit ‘corrupt’ (not trustworthy) for our purposes, except for places like Vermont, which have no Hispanic population.
— Wild West Legacy: The top of the 1960 list is dominated by then-new states, in which that rugged settler spirit was not yet a distant memory. Alaska (49th state admitted), Arizona (48th state), and New Mexico (47th state) rank highly, along with Nevada (essentially a sparsely-settled wasteland before the Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s — How much of Nevada’s murder rate emanates from Las Vegas would be interesting to know). Arizona, we will recall, in 1960 produced the ‘extremist’ libertarian-conservative Barry Goldwater for president; Arizona in 2008 produced the luekwarm loser McCain.
— Does a Wild West Legacy Live On into the 2010s? I have no idea. The numbers are now significantly inflated by Hispanics in most of these states. In Alaska’s case, the legacy still lives on but has faded substantially. Alaska is now 6% Hispanic, probably not enough to skew the numbers much. Its White murder-rate was #1 in 1960, and is down to #8 in AE’s analysis. Its per capita rate has nearly been cut in half since 1960.
— Are White-Americans more violent than their racial cousins in Europe? Michael Moore’s 2002 documentary, “Bowling for Columbine”, in synopsis by Steve Sailer: “Racist white rednecks in the sticks want guns because they have [unfounded] racist fears of urban blacks”. The USA’s overall murder rate has been an order of magnitude or more higher than other Western nations’ for a long time, due of Nonwhite crime. However, even American-Whites commit more murders than the English do. In 1960, U.S.-Whites committed 2.7 murders per 100,000 population, while Nonwhites committed 25.5. England’s rate was reportedly 0.6 in 1960, a figure seen only in the safest of American states. All but five of our states at least doubled that rate, and 37 tripled it or more. About half quadrupled it, and our states with the most dangerous Whites in 1960 were ten-times as likely to commit murder than English Whites of 1960. Maybe the better question is, why was 1950s England so safe?
— Have We Gotten More Peaceful? Or, “The Dramatic Advances in Trauma Medicine” Many states not afflicted by Hispanic-Inflation saw declines in their murder-rates. Does this mean we are getting more peaceful, generally? The excellent blogger Jehu, at Chariot of Reaction, has frequently made the point that “a point in the murder-rate isn’t what it used to be”. Advances in medicine mean that many more people now survive assaults. In the past, victims died at higher rates, resulting in higher “murder” rates. Jehu implies that accounting for improved treatment should greatly influence our view of whether levels of violence has declined or gone up. See his post The Homicide Narrative. See especially this graphic on the lethality of assault by year, and this one applying those numbers to the homicide rate: the top line is what the homicide rates would be if keeping steady the death-rates-from-assault that held in 1960. This means that, if levels of violent assault held exactly even across time, the “murder-rate” of 2010 would be ~33% its 1960 level; the other victims of violence would all survive today, the research says. Has this expected decline occurred among Whites? No. Even in states in which Hispanic-Inflation is not a factor in AE’s 2000s numbers, this has not occurred. Whites of today do seem to be more violent than their parents or grandparents were in 1960, but not by very much. By how much? 2.7/3=0.9, so, applying this parameter, the White rate ought to be 0.9 today if the level of violence were the same. Hispanic-inflation makes it hard to say what White-America’s true murder-rate is, but it seems White-Americans are probably a bit more than twice as prone to murder today as they were in 1960. However, one could argue that the improvements in access to and quality of trauma medicine have more substantially benefited Nonwhites (a reasonably assumption). Let’s say that, to account for the relatively-lesser gains in improved trauma medicine attained by Whites since 1960, we’d expect 66% (rather than 33%) of 1960’s murder-rate for the 2000s given an equal level of violence. In this case, the White “violence rate” has actually maintained steady in some states, has increased in others, not even considering those with obvious Hispanic inflation. This is now straying into the realm of conjecture, though, so I’ll move on.
— The Age Factor — Young men commit the lion’s share of a society’s murders. That has been true probably for all of human history. A society with a bigger share of its people being young men will have more murders. As a society ages and there are relatively fewer young men, won’t its murder rate “per 100,000 population” necessarily go down? What is the share of the White population which is male age 18 to 45 in 1960 vs. 2010? If the share of young-men is lower in 2010 than it was in 1960 (it must be), the murder-rate should be expected to be lower, too. If it isn’t, it means society is actually slightly more dangerous.
Thanks, great stuff. I’ll cite it in an article I’m writing.
Improvements in trauma medicine — you can see this in Monday headlines out of Chicago: A typical one reads something like “4 killed, 17 wounded in weekend shootings.” The Chicago shooters are typically excitable blacks who would like to get away with their crime, so marksmanship is low. When I read through the L.A. Times’ blog detailing ever homicide in L.A. County, it struck me that a fair number of the white and Asian murders are domestic shootings, often murder-suicides. Man who lives with his elderly mother shoots her, then shoots himself, that kind of thing.
Age factor — 1960 wasn’t vastly different than the 2000s, since young men 15-30 then were pre-Baby Boomers from the Birth Dearth era of 1930-1945. Fewer very old people, though.
Most of the states on the top half of the list saw declines (unless their Hispanic population is now massive) while some of the states on the lower half of the list saw increases. Some of this is no doubt sheer statistical regression to the mean (although we are using 3 years for 1959-1961 and 5 years from the 2000s).
But, I also think that we are seeing the country becoming more homogenized culturally. In late 1970s, I worked as a research assistant for the celebrated Houston criminal lawyer Racehorse Haynes in summarizing his scrapbooks for an autobiography he was planning. His most famous successful cases were defending people accused of murdering their cheating spouses or their spouses’ lovers. In the early 1960s in Texas, mostly Racehorse just had to put the accused in a sympathetic light and the victim in a bad light to get Texas juries to decide that the victim had it coming. Don’t deny that the wife shot her husband’s mistress, make her look proud of it. Coming from California, I thought that was pretty hilariously backward.
By the 1970s, however, in his two epic successful defenses of the vastly rich oil scion Cullen Davis, who makes J.R. Ewing look like Mother Teresa, Racehorse had, instead, to muddy the waters with a lot of mumbo-jumbo about alternative explanations of who really shot Cullen’s wife or who really wanted to kill Cullen’s divorce trial judge.
So, by the 1970s, the distinctive code of white Texans was fading, and today is probably not very different from the rest of the country.
I think that some regional differences have faded but not disappeared. In Knoxville, TN in 2008 (in a story that was reported nationally), Eric McLean served only 28 days in jail after being sentenced to jail for reckless homicide in the shooting death of his wife’s teenaged lover. He was later awarded custody of his two sons and his ex-wife was ordered to pay child support. I doubt that this story would have had the same ending in New England.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Audacious is estimating homicide offending rates in the 2000s, and these 1960s numbers are homicide victimization rates. It’s not an apples to oranges comparison, though, it’s more like oranges to tangerines, since most homicides are intraracial.
To Steve’s point regarding offending rates versus victimization rates, it’s my (mostly uneducated) guess that unidentified murderers (ie, those who were never caught) tend to be more black than even the identifiable offender numbers would lead us to believe if we assume that the unidentifieds are split proportionally to how the numbers shake out among the identifieds. However, I did split them proportionally in my data, so if my hunch is correct, the 2000s white offender rates are a bit overstated.
I wonder if the low rate in the 40s and 50s was an after-effect of the war, especially in England. Take a young man who has some propensity for violence, give him a rifle, and *tell* him to go forth and kill people. The somewhat more violent young man will be more likely to earn himself a posthumous medal for doing something brave, and foolhardy. The English had more combat exposure than Americans, so probably more of their more violent young men never came back.
I wonder if Soviet statistics for the late 40s and 50s are at all reliable – after going through that meatgrinder, the effect should have been even larger, and there should have been a very low rate of murder. Unless the slaughter was much less selective for a propensity for violence.
Advances in medicine mean that many more people now survive assaults. In the past, victims died at higher rates, resulting in higher “murder” rates.
Perhaps. Then again, handguns are deadlier today than in 1960. Pistols with 15-round or larger magazines have largely replaced the old six-shooter revolvers. It’s reasonable to assume that more available rounds = more victims shot multiple times. And then there’s the huge growth in popularity of the .40 S&W pistol round following its introduction in the early 1990’s, it is more powerful and deadlier than the .38 Special revolver round and the 9mm pistol round, both of which would have been more common in 1960.
The conversion rate of aggravated assault to murder—i.e. the chance that someone who experiences aggravated assault will expire from said experience—has been dropping pretty steadily since the 60s. Likely it has dropped since the 1860s too. Trauma medicine has gotten MUCH, MUCH better, as has hospital coverage. This may be why the most recent malefactor in the school shooting used so many rounds per victim. This is despite massive headwinds as you imply, although I’ll point out that the various flavors of 45 enjoyed great popularity before the era of 9 mm hegemony.
You can’t use the number for “aggravated assault” and conclude that is a shooting. Aggravated assault doesn’t even mean a weapon was definitely used.
Its the ammo thats deadlier actually. Hollowpoints were seldom used in the 1960’s except in revolvers since they often wouldn’t feed. In the middle of the decade the first high performance modern hollow points SuperVel by Lee Juras came about. They were expensive but in par with more modern rounds like Corbon.
I do agree on the uptick in firepower to some degree though. while the Browing Hi Power has been for sale since the mid 30’s (it has a 13 round magazine) most gun users had a .38 with round ball ammo or sometimes a .45 with full metal jacket. Even rounds such as .32 and .380 in FMJ were quite common.
Rifle rounds are roughly the same though the 5.56 so beloved of shooters lately is only moderatly effective and any decent rifle like the 30/30 of that period was deadly. Rifle rounds aven’t changed much either, a bit more accuracy maybe but not much else.
However trauma medicine has gotten ahead of the game and as such gun shot injuries are less deadly.
As for the .40 S&W its a fairly effective cartridge but its not really new, the .38-40 round was pretty much the same and it dates from 1870.
More on topic,I am not surprise that if you track Whites of European extraction seperately I suspect you’d find our homicide rates are slightly above that of Europe. Our cultures have similarities and there are of course ethnic trends as well.
As a note the tracking of Hispanics as White is both lazy and political and a real diservice to good crime prevention but again the Fed has no interest in that anyway.
The criminals in the 1960s and into the ’70s were predominantly using the .22, .25 and .32 in both revolver and auto calibers. The .32 auto had the particularly ineffective full metal jacket bullet. The step-up to the 9mm with hollow points started in the mid-80s. I can’t prove it but everyone I’ve talked to about it believes the criminals are shooting their victims more.
The typical ambulance today is probably about as well-equipped as a typical emergency room in 1960.
Most of the presidents who were assasinated or died in office in the past probably would have survived with current medical technology. Reagan probably wouldn’t have with the trauma care available to JFK.
My brother’s wife (a nurse), once treated a patient who tried a Hemmingway (i.e., cleaned a 12 gauge shotgun…with his mouth). He survived and made a full recovery. This was back around 2000 or so. The technology has only improved since then. Be thankful for soldiers, athletes, and Darwin award runners-up. They’re our medical beta testers.
Most of the presidents who were assasinated or died in office in the past probably would have survived with current medical technology.
Garfield definitely would have survived with modern medical care. In fact, by all rights he should have survived with the medical care available in 1881. Unfortunately, he got substandard care, mainly due to an incompetent doctor who more or less took complete control of the case.
McKinley is a more questionable case. The common view until recently was that he too would have survived with modern medical care, but a more recent viewpoint says that he may have developed a condition known as pancreatic necrosis, which is still hard to treat. (Source.)
Lincoln wouldn’t have had a chance even today. Booth’s bullet went almost the entire way through Lincoln’s brain.
A prior comment of mine didn’t seem to go through, so here’s another try …
James Garfield is the only assassinated president who definitely would have survived with modern medical care. In fact, by all rights he should have survived even with the standard of care available in 1881. What happened, unfortunately, is that a well-connected but strikingly incompetent physician named Doctor Doctor Bliss – yes, “Doctor” was his actual first name – took complete control of Garfield’s treatment and turned away many physicians who actually knew what they were doing.
William McKinley is a somewhat more uncertain case. Until recently the prevailing view was that he would have survived with modern care, but some historians now believe that he had developed a condition known as pancreatic necrosis, which can be fatal even today.
Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have had a chance. Booth’s bullet entered Lincoln’s skull behind the left ear and traveled all the way through his brain, stopping just behind the right eye. Modern medicine can’t possibly do anything for that. And JFK, of course, was completely beyond all hope from the moment he was shot. He probably was clinically dead when he arrived at the hospital, but the medical team delayed the pronouncement of death so a priest could administer the Last Rites.
Here’s an old, but interesting review of a book on why Southern whites are more violent than their peers in the rest of the nation. According to it, the difference is really in the suburbs and rural areas. Southern big cities are no more violent than those in the rest of the nation.
I loved this part:
The evidence assembled here, while certainly intriguing and even fascinating at times, does not rule out alternative explanations for the higher rate of violence in the South–including my favorite, originally proposed by Sheldon Hackney as early as 1970: “In the South, there’s just more folks who need killing.”
For Mark Perry.
The murder rate in New Mexico was 10.0/100,000 in 2008. Illinois was 8.4. Maryland,7.7.(DC, 24.2). These rates are higher than those of Georgia, 6.0; Arkansas, 6.3; Florida 5.5, North Carolina,5.4; South Carolina,6.7; Tennessee 7.4. Source: US Census, 2009.
And high rates of violent crime (murder, forcible rape,robbery, aggravated assault) are not limited to the south, either.The state with the highest rate of violent crime is Nevada-727.5/100,000. New Mexico’s rate is 670.6. Alaska’s rate is 654.4.( Washington, DC has a violent crime rate of 1,437.7) The violent crime rate in some southern states is higher than that of other regions in the US: Louisiana 658.4, South Carolina 726.2, North Carolina 486.6. But in other southern states, the violent crime rate is lower than those in other regions: Mississippi, 327.7 vs 466.2, Massachusetts; Kentucky, 306.6 vs 708.6, Delaware. Source: US Census, 2009.
While the homicide rate in the US is higher than that of other developed countries, if we compare by race we see that in 1975, the homicide rate among whites was 5/100,000; of blacks, 50/100,000. By 2005, the black rate had declined to 27/100,000. The white rate declined to 2.7/ 100,000. Source: FBI. (FBI uses the term “homicide”, Census Bureau uses the term “murder”.)
On another note, I have tried but failed to locate intentional homicide statistics for New
York City by borough. Inevitably, the statistics are for the city as a whole.
“I wonder if the low rate in the 40s and 50s was an after-effect of the war, especially in England.”
One of the odd things about England is the working class areas were actually always pretty violent but at the same time extremely non-lethal. It was almost all fists and even the soccer hoolies who carried knives carried box-cutters so they could slash someone and give them a lot of stitchs but it would have been extremely difficult to accidentally kill anyone with one. I’ve also seen older hoolies take proper knives off younger ones for the same reason – fighting was purely for sport. No-one should get killed.
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It’s my guess that the distribution of the White crime rate, once you take into account the “White Hispanics”, must have something to do with the ethnic origin of American Whites ala Albion’s Seed. Note the higher scores of the Appalachian Scotch-Irish states. According to Hackett-Fischer, it was the Scotch-Irish who conquered the interior of the country (as far as Southern California), and a big reason why the West was so Wild. So that their not left out, note the higher rate in the lowland Southern states as well: the legacy of the distressed cavaliers and British commoners who colonized the coastal South is evident.
By contrast, the states populated by the less violent (and, in accordance with HBD Chick’s model, less inbred) groups, the Puritans and the Quakers (the latter of which were even borderline pacifist) all score low. (The Utah Mormons are essentially a descendant of these groups, being a splinter group of old-guard English northerners.)
It probably doesn’t hurt that many of the more violent individuals from the Old North probably boiled off and headed West.
Jehu’s ‘revised’ numbers are probably way off since they rest on the dubious premise that all aggravated assaults are actually attempted murders.
There are also issues arising from crime reporting that saw a massive (and as far as I’ve been able to determine, unexplained) rise in crimes reported by the police (ie UCR stats) vs the stagnant number crimes claimed to have been reported to police in National Crime Victimization Survey interviews. The issue here is mainly that the severity of crimes that police began reporting was likely much less (almost certainly much less than that required to constitute attempted murder) than the crime they were already reporting, which also casts doubt on the validity of Jehu’s ‘revised’ statistics.
Going back to the premise that aggravated assault is actually attempted murder, of all assaults this would hold most true for aggravated assault with a firearm. The rate of aggravated assaults with firearm during the 2000s is not much different to what it was in the early 70s, even though the number of reported total aggravated assaults (by whatever means) is higher, so I think this counts as a point in favor of the reduction in violence thesis.
What on earth are you talking about? The CDC breaks murder rates into non-Hispanic and Hispanic whites here:
Those CDC numbers are victims. This is about perpetrators. Hispanic perps are often included with whites.
You have not posted anything in over 4 months.Please tell us you are not dead and plan to resume posting very soon.Thank you.
Same question. Are you okay my friend?
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Jayman makes an interesting point about white crime rates being related to the ethnic origin of Europeans who settled in those places. If that’s the case, then Germans and Scandinavians must be very law abiding. The most German state in the country, Wisconsin, has among the lowest murder rate for whites.
One only has to look at courtroom photos of George Zimmerman to see that the only way to classify Latinos as white is to be Jewish.
One reason for the very high Japanese murder rates of the 1950s is the lingering effects of a society wide abuse of amphetamines inducing all sorts of domestic problems. After the war the military was stuck with a massive amount of amphetamines for which it had no further use. These were unloaded into the wider society partly by the use of returning soldiers who had become addicted during the war. Although the drugs were outlawed in 1951 the effects of the abuse lingered on for a long time and in hindsight it is easy to see that Japan has never been more violent than in the first decade after WW2.
We can also see the effects of the amphetamine abuse in cultural circles, as the basis for an absolute explosion in theatre, dance, photography, comics, movies, music, etc.
Although amphetamine use in Japan has dropped drastically since then, we are still riding high on the cultural side-effects of all those drugs.
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