Published online yesterday (June 6), “Refuting Fear: Immigration, Youth and California’s Stunning Declines in Crime and Violence” documents “dramatic reductions in crime” as California’s population has evolved from 67 percent White in 1980 to 62 percent people of color in 2017. The shift is even more pronounced when considering people under the age of 25, where the population went from 60 percent White to 71 percent people of color—a demographic change that the author, senior research fellow Mike Males, says is largely driven by immigration.
The study found that as the complexion of California changed, crime decreased: violent crime rates for youth dropped by 72 percent between 1980 and 2015, and homicide arrests of youth plummeted by 92 percent in the same period.
From the report:
These trends have caught experts, officials and interest groups by surprise. In the 1990s, leading criminologists predicted growing populations of youth of color would result in a “blood bath of teenaged violence” incited by “juvenile super-predators.” Similarly, in 2017, President Donald Trump is blaming people of color—specifically immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and Mexico—for causing increased crime, drug-related death and “American carnage.” The president has also stated that “sanctuary cities” in particular “breed crime,” and that California is therefore “out of control.” However, California’s crime trends in the all-minority population era have proven to be more positive than the nation overall. This is especially apparent in California’s largest cities, many of which have established local policies, or must adhere to state policy, limiting cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). …
While the large declines in crime and violence among young Californians have benefitted all races and ethnicities, the ethnic groups composing the highest proportions of recent immigration showed the largest declines. For example, from 1980 to 2015, homicide arrest rates of youth fell by 93 percent among Asian populations, 91 percent among Latino populations, 80 percent among Black populations and 77 percent among White populations.
The study also found that the high school dropout rate declined as California’s communities of color grew, while college enrollment and graduation rates increased.
Read the full report here.