Friday, May 26, 2017

How Big a Murder Problem Does the U.S. Have?

Dr. Lott has a spectacular article showing that most of America does not have a murder problem.
The vast majority of murders in the United States occur in just a tiny percentage of counties. In fact, the country can be divided up into three types of places: those where there are no murders; those where there are a few murders; and those where murders are very common.

In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54 percent of counties (with 11 percent of the population) had no murders. 69 percent of counties had no more than one murder, and about 20 percent of the population and only 4 percent of all murders in the country.

The worst 1 percent of counties have 19 percent of the population and 37 percent of the murders in 2014. The worst 2 percent of counties contain 47 percent of the population and accounted for 51 percent of the murders. 68 percent of the murders occurred in only 5 percent of counties.
Hat tip to Shall Not Be Questioned.


  1. "The worst 2 percent of counties contain 47 percent of the population and accounted for 51 percent of the murders."

    Umm, nothing really to look at there. 47% of the population, 51% of the murders? Sounds very average to me.

    As to the 54% of counties with no murders - many of these counties have very low populations, small enough that at the US average rate of 5/100,000, they would have a murder every two to three years. There are 3,143 county-equivalents in the US (including parishes in LA and independent cities); 703 (22%) have fewer than 10,000 people.

    What would be much more interesting than this "study" (Lott should be ashamed of it) would be an examination of variation in murder rates in counties of equal population. If some of the selected cohort have much higher rates than the rest, and account for a substantially disproportionate share of murders - that would be a powerful finding.

    Murders are disproportionately distributed in large-population counties, but subdividing such counties into distinct communities is tricky and open to gerrymandering. The small counties provide a predefined set of communities, which can be examined for characteristics which correlate with murder rate.

  2. So, considering how the deep state (aka the installed base of Leftists) works, is anyone making book on how quickly the 2017 data presumably available in 2020 will be collected so as to make such glaring contradictions of the party line impossible?
    After all, if the danger is shown to be too confined, and not the result of racist brain waves crossing the ether into the vulnerable brains of the downtrodden, how will the restrictions on liberty be sold to the suckers?

  3. Rich: I think his point was more in the city maps, where murder is highly concentrated. He does not dare point out that murder in the U.S. is mostly black on black, which causes our very high murder rate as a nation while many states have murder rates at European levels.