Immigrant Generation Differences in Crime and Violence

Disentangling Myth and Perception from Empirical Reality

Authored by: Jorge M. Chavez

Routledge Handbook on Immigration and Crime

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138668416
eBook ISBN: 9781317211563
Adobe ISBN:


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The modern context of immigration has changed considerably from that the early 20th Century when the US saw the largest growth in immigrant populations from Europe. Immigrants today are more likely to be from Latin America, and Asia, and encounter and increasingly modern post-industrial US economy, and growing anti-immigrant sentiment, rhetoric, and policy. Public perception remains steadfast that immigrant concentration and foreign-born immigrants are responsible for high crime rates. However, a small but growing literature consistently finds that first-generation immigrants are less likely to be involved in crime and violence than are successive generations. The protective effect of immigration dissipates from 2nd to 3rd and later generations, and as time in the US increases, but participation in crime and violence only approaches that of native-born groups. Understanding regarding the mechanisms by which immigrant generational differences in violence and crime are created and maintained remains limited suggesting avenues for future research.

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