Friday, January 26, 2007

Young black and Hispanic kids are the most hyperactive and antisocial: A reader suggested in an earlier post that the black orientation toward authority is the product of living among many lawless young people. It seems likely that culture is often a reaction to the characteristics of the group. The college-prep class can afford to have a less structured environment that fosters self-direction than a classroom at a last chance school.

But do blacks, on average, behave any differently than whites? A surprisingly candid study I found in the Journal of Marriage and Family (2003; 65:835-849) analyzed data on more than 2,000 black, white, and Hispanic kids (the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth). They looked at kids from age 5 to 13 and found that blacks had the highest rates of hyperactivity, Hispanics second, and whites third. The gap was evident at age 5 and it persisted through age 13. They began measuring antisocial behavior at age 7: the racial/ethnic ranking was the same, but while blacks and Hispanics got increasingly antisocial as they aged, whites did not. I suspect this pattern is common: early (possibly genetic) differences being magnified by different environments.

Now the author attibuted hyperactivity to home environment variables (he is a sociologist, after all), but I've seen several studies reporting large heritability. So, if a community has a greater density of hyperactive children and antisocial youths, one would expect it to react with a more authoritarian culture.

But as we have seen on this blog, values and behavior are not always consistent: in spite of all their bluster about kids needing a good whoopin' once in a while, the study shows that blacks do not spank their kids more often than whites. And incidentally, whites provide more emotional support and cognitive stimulation.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blacks are more authority-oriented than other groups: People in more than 40 countries were asked what qualities children should be encouraged to learn at home (World Values Survey). While looking at the numbers I noticed that the two African countries--Nigeria and South Africa--are at the top of the list for obedience, good manners, and religious faith, and are at the bottom for imagination. They also rank number 1 and 2 on the question of whether greater respect for authority would be a good thing. Looking at the General Social Survey, American blacks are also much more likely than whites to feel that learning obedience to parents and good manners is desirable (43% vs. 30% and 46% vs. 23%).

Even though these people live in very different societies, a pattern emerges here of blacks being more oriented toward submission and authority than others. Such an orientation might make it more difficult to know how to act in situations of low social control or with the absence of a hierarchy.
Even more on religion and crime: A reader suggested that people who have no religion and actively reject religion will be less criminal than people who have a church. (Given that I showed earlier that affiliated people are less criminal in general, the reader implies that the group with the truly high rates of illegality will be those with no church who nevertheless accept religion). The closest I could find on the GSS to a rejection of religion was a question about thinking religion is unimportant. The results look like this:

Percent of whites with no religion ever arrested

Those saying religion is unimportant 30.8 (N=65)
Those saying it is important 44.4 (N=18)

We can't have too much confidence with the small samples, but it looks like those who question religion's importance are less criminal. They are, however, still arrested at a rate much higher than the largest white religious group, Protestants (9.0%). (I analyzed whites since they are the only group large enough. There was only one year where questions were asked about both arrest and importance of religion. By the way, the numbers above are higher than for arrests for all years combined).

I suspected that high-IQ, non-religious people might have low crime rates since they have resources apart from religion to keep them law-abiding. Their numbers:

Percent of whites with no religion ever arrested

High IQ (wordsum 8-10) 21.1
Medium IQ (wordsum 5-7) 25.7
Low IQ (wordsum 1-4) 27.7

There is a little support for my idea here, but not much. Even the high IQ group is substantially more criminal than the 9% for white Protestants I mentioned above.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The greater male interest in politics is universal: The World Values Survey asked people from 43 countries if they were interested in politics. Fifty-nine percent of men and 45 percent of women said they were, either a lot or somewhat. Alone, these numbers don't raise my eyebrows much, but as I look down the list of countries, I notice that the greater male interest is true in every country. (South Korea has greater female interest in the year examined, but I looked at the 3 other years that the question was asked and the male numbers were higher in each case). The country with the smallest gap is northern Ireland (37% v. 32%) but a small difference isn't a surprise since the general level of interest is very low. Japan is on the other extreme with 74% of men interested, compared to only 51% of women.

Men and women are not only different--they're different everywhere.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Sunny Scand and the Morose Muscovite: Steve Sailer writes about how Dr. Lionel Jeffries might be onto something when he calls Africans "Sun People" and Europeans "Ice People": "[T]here seems to be some sort of correlation between gloomy, cold weather and gloomy, cold personalities, just like there is between sunny, warm weather and sunny, warm personalities."

When I read Jeffries, I thought he made a lot of sense, although it was clear he meant it as an insult to whites. But the World Values Survey gives us little reason to see northern Europeans as gloomy. I've got the book in front of me of the data from the early 90s, and the picture that emerges is of an optimistic, happy, and friendly people. Look how often northern European countries are in the top 5 (out of around 40 countries):

Percent ever feeling on top of the world in past few weeks (no pun intended)
1. Sweden 77
2. Turkey 73
3. Denmark 64
4. Iceland 63
5. Norway 59

Percent ever feeling depressed in past few weeks
38. Belgium 14
39. Slovenia 13
40. Sweden 10
41. Iceland 7
42. Switzerland 7

Percent ever feeling that things were going their way
1. Iceland 84
2. Turkey 76
3. Sweden 73
4. USA 72
5. Canada 70

Percent feeling satisfied with life as a whole
1. Denmark 86
2. Switzerland 86
3. Netherlands 85
4. Iceland 85
5. Canada 84

Percent saying they are very happy
1. Netherlands 48
2. Ireland 44
3. Denmark 43
4. USA 41
5. Iceland 41

Percent saying friends are very important
1. Sweden 69
2. Norway 68
3. Netherlands 63
4. Brazil 57
5. Turkey 55

Percent belonging to a sports/recreational group
1. Netherlands 43
2. Denmark 34
3. Norway 33
4. W. Germany 32
5. Sweden 32

I won't give you numbers here (since I've hit you over the head already) but trust me, it's the Eastern Europeans who are the Ice People. The two regions are polar opposites (no pun intended). The two predominantly black countries--Nigeria and South Africa (Brazil is very mixed)--never break the top 7, and they usually fall somewhere in the middle. And the General Social Survey shows that American whites are significantly happier than their black counterparts. So the picture given to us by surveys anyway is of the Sunny Scand and the Morose Muscovite.

It might be that the good mood felt by the northerners is quieter, not shown in such a demonstrative way as with blacks. I wish I had a more northern example, but I knew an old Dutch immigrant very well. Old men are often grumpy, but I never saw this guy when he wasn't happy, but it was so subtle, you might call it just calm.

But what about suicide rates? Aren't they high in the North? Actually, they're more toward the middle (Finland is higher). Once again, Eastern Europe towers over the rest. And we must keep in mind that suicide is very extreme, and outliers don't necessarily tell us where the mean is.
More on religion and crime: I suspected that the correlation between not having a religion and being arrested might be due to gender: men are both less religious and more criminal than women. But this is what I found:

Percent ever arrested:

White men
Protestant 15.9
Catholic 19.2
Jewish 9.7
No religion 32.5

White women
Protestant 3.6
Catholic 3.9
Jewish 3.1
No religion 11.8

Black men
Protestant 25.4
Catholic 37.3
No religion 43.5

Black women
Protestant 7.0
Catholic 8.2
No religion 6.5

Even controlling for gender, people with a religion tend to be less criminal. And according to these numbers, religion is more important than race: non-affiliated whites have higher arrest rates than Protestant blacks (both men and women). The numbers, however, do show that race matters. I combined Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Americans to make a sufficiently large group, and only one out of 55 had ever been arrested: a Catholic Filipino. The 10 Asians with no religion had zero arrests. It's interesting how 82% of this sample of Asians report a religion: clearly Asian Americans are more religious than people in the old country.

By the way, I looked to see why black Catholics are so much more criminal than Protestants. You can see in the numbers above that the difference is concentrated among men. The only factor I could find is that Black Catholics are a significantly younger group: more of them grew up during the era of high crime. I suppose they are younger because as Steve Sailer wrote, more black kids are being sent to parochial schools, and some convert. Steve also thought (as did I) that they might be concentrated in New Orleans, a crime-ridden city. But the largest share of them (according to the GSS) live in the mid-Atlantic division--NJ, NY, and PA.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Americans who claim a religion are less criminal: The General Social Survey asked more than 9,000 respondents if they had a religion and whether they have ever been arrested. Here are the percent ever having been arrested:

Percent ever arrested

Protestants 9.0
Catholics 10.5
Jews 5.1
No religion 25.0

Protestants 13.9
Catholics 22.5
No religion 28.6

Protestants 16.0
Catholics 14.9
No religion 54.5

People with no religious affiliation are a lot more likely to have been arrested, especially Mexicans (caution: non-affiliated Mexican sample is small--11). It's interesting how black Catholics, unlike for other ethnic groups, are much worse than they're Protestant counterparts. Later, I'll try to find evidence to explain this.

Of course, a correlation between naming a denomination and obeying the law does not prove that religion has a salutary influence on behavior: it might be that morally inclined people both claim a church and avoid crime. The most we can say is that these numbers support the thesis that religion improves behavior.

Part of the "no religion" group is made up of intelligent, skeptical people who have qualities making them unlikely candidates for a career in crime. If we removed them, I imagine the arrest rates of the rest would be even higher.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mexicans have the worst values in the world: The World Values Survey asked people in all regions of the world in the early 90s if the following are ever justified: falsely claiming government benefits; avoiding transportation fare; buying stolen goods; cheating on taxes; stealing a car for a joyride; keeping lost money; lying in one's interest; being unfaithful; and accepting bribes. I averaged the ranks for each of the 40 countries, and zeroed in on the worst five:

Worst values ranking:
1. Mexico
2. Finland
3. France
4. West Germany
5. Belgium

Czechoslovakia is (was) about as bad as Mexico, but they were not asked several of the questions so they were left out. The remaining four were not even as close to being as accepting of bad behavior as Mexicans were. I'm sure that some respondents were creative and thought up ways when these things could be justified, but bleh--I still think the questions capture moral zeal or the lack of it.

But the neocons instruct us that Mexican immigration revitalizes America's decaying values. They will help us get our family lives back together. The wisdom of these guys is indeed breathtaking.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More than any other country, America believes you should obey your boss: The World Values Survey asked people from 40 countries if you should follow your boss' instructions even if you don't fully agree, or should you be convinced first. While the world average was 32% agreeing to comply, the U.S. was almost double that (62%). Evidently, hierarchy in the workplace is really respected here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

People think that Americans of English descent have done the most for the country: The General Social Survey asked close to 1,000 Americans how much different ethnic groups have positively contributed to our society. The lists of countries the interviewers chose to include (shown below) is strange and was designed, I'm sure, to study prejudice and not achievement. But here are the results anyway:

Percent of Americans who say the ethnic group has made the biggest positive contribution (own group's view in parentheses):

English 31.0 (50.0)
Jews 12.1 (26.5)
Blacks 9.5 (29.7)
Irish 9.0 (15.7)
Japanese 8.9
Italians 8.1 (14.0)
Mexicans 4.3 (4.5)
Muslims 3.0
Puerto Ricans 2.9
Vietnamese 2.8
Cubans 2.5

The poor Germans who are only the largest ethnic group and have been here forever don't even make the list. I honestly don't know where many of these people are getting their answers from: you might think people say their own group is the best, but most of the time this is not the case. The percent saying their own group has done the most is in parentheses, and while the numbers are a larger than what all Americans together think, they're not not that much bigger.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Controlling for height, Asian women are still the lightest by far: Continuing the topic of fatness, I thought a close look at how much women weigh would anger any feminists passing through, so I decided I had to do it. I looked at the National Health Interview Survey to calculate the mean weight of American women by ethnic group. Here's what I got:

Women's mean weight (without shoes):

Black 160.0
American Indian 150.3
White 143.4
Hispanic 143.1
Asian 122.3

Not surprisingly, the Black mean is a lot higher and the Asian mean a lot lower than the others, but this is an unfair comparison because of height differences. So what do the means look like if we focus on the modal height--5'4"?

Black 156.9
American Indian 149.7
Hispanic 142.6
White 141.7
Asian 125.3

A thirty pound difference between blacks and Asians, but again this is not really fair because of frame differences.

I also wanted to look at the age curve of women's weight:

age 18, 134
age 22, 137
age 26, 140
age 30, 143
age 37, 147
age 43, 150
age 51, 153
age 57, 156

From age 18 to 30, it only takes 4 years of aging to add an average of 3 pounds. So the 20s are the real weight gaining years, some of it due, I'm sure, to pregnancy.

After 30 the weight gain slows: it takes around 7 years to gain an additional three pounds until the peak weight of 156 is reached at age 57. After this age, the weight declines gradually and by age 82, women have fallen to the same weight they had at age 18. Some of this reduction is due to the higher mortality rates of obese women.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Americans are the fattest people in the world: has data on obesity, and Americans are the big (emphasis on big) losers. I love my country as much as the next guy, but all this eye pollution does make me embarassed for us. And one of the few joys in life is to see pretty women during my otherwise unpleasant day. (I refuse to apologize for enjoying this--blame it on God if you like, I was born this way). It is getter harder and harder to find these girls since 1) they are all fat now, and 2) all the fat people block one's view.

It's natural to infer from this website that I am anti-immigration, but such an inference is wrong. I would love to see the country flooded with thin Asian women. But as you see from the rankings here, Mexico is not helping us: they're the number 2 fatties, and don't I know it.

Percent Obese

United States 30.6
Mexico 24.2
United Kingdom 23.0
Slovakia 22.4
Greece 21.9
Australia 21.7
New Zealand 20.9
Hungary 18.8
Luxembourg 18.4
Czech Republic 14.8
Canada 14.3
Spain 13.1
Ireland 13.0
Germany 12.9
Finland 12.8
Portugal 12.8
Iceland 12.4
Turkey 12.0
Belgium 11.7
Netherlands 10.0
Sweden 9.7
Denmark 9.5
France 9.4
Austria 9.1
Italy 8.5
Norway 8.3
Switzerland 7.7
Korea, South 3.2
Japan 3.2

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mexican Americans do not want immigration from Latin America slowed: General Social Survey respondents (all were Americans) were asked if they wanted more or less immigration from various regions of the world. (They could also answer that they want levels to remain the same). Here is the percent wanting more broken out by large ethnic groups:

Percent wanting more immigration from Latin America
Blacks 9.4
English/Welsh 8.0
Germans 5.5
Irish 6.9
Mexicans 24.4

Percent wanting more immigration from Asia
Blacks 6.6
English/Welsh 9.7
Germans 4.0
Irish 9.5
Mexicans 25.0

Percent wanting more immigration from Europe
Blacks 8.5
English/Welsh 13.1
Germans 5.5
Irish 8.7
Mexicans 20.4

These numbers tell us at least two things. First, in forming their immigration attitudes, Americans generally do not think in terms of where immigrants are coming from--if you're for it, you're for it for everyone. Second, Mexican Americans are the most pro-immigration. They have the most immigrants and immigrant relatives, so this is no surprise. The above numbers do not show that Mex-Ams have a preference for Latino immigrants, but keep in mind that these questions (I think) were asked together, and a repsondent might feel awkward answering yes he wants more immigrants from Latin America, but then no when he is then asked about Asia or Europe. In America, we can't discriminate, right? Also, if Mex-Ams have a preference, it would be more for Mexicans than all Hispanics. Let's look at those wanting less immigration:

Percent wanting less immigration from Latin America
Blacks 39.2
English/Welsh 45.6
Germans 47.3
Irish 54.7
Mexicans 20.0

Percent wanting less immigration from Asia
Blacks 43.5
English/Welsh 42.3
Germans 45.6
Irish 49.1
Mexicans 34.1

Percent wanting less immgration from Europe
Blacks 34.0
English/Welsh 36.6
Germans 37.2
Irish 32.8
Mexicans 27.3

Not surprisingly, for all groups there are more restrictionists than open borders folks, and we see again that people are very simple in their attitudes. They don't think about things like how well do people from certain regions assimilate, or what characteristics, good or bad, do they bring. They want more or fewer immigrants, period. Mex-Ams have the fewest restrictionists, but we do see a little group solidarity slipping through in this second set of numbers: with Asia and Europe, Mex-Ams percentages are somewhat lower than the others, but the percent wanting less Latino immigration is less than half the other groups. Only 20% of Mex-Ams want fewer immigrants from Latin America. The more benign explanation is that they are thinking of relatives that plan to come to America in the future, but the more political explanation is that they see people like themselves freely coming and expanding the Hispanic presence here, and they like this trend, and don't want to see it diminish.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Welcome to multicultural America: As of two years ago, the bathroom I often visit on campus had nice, clean blue walls. Then, I began to see occasional gang writing here and there. My reaction was, "Gangs, at a university?!" (I really shouldn't be surprised: I have had former and current gang members in my classes). Over time, gangbangers wrote more and more, either to advertise themselves or to challenge rival gangs. Eventually, the walls were a mess of crossed-out graffiti.

Now, the latest trend. A couple weeks ago, some white guy finally got fed up with the bathroom's walls being turned into a giant scribble pad, and wrote: "F****** beaners." To which a well-endowed student responded, "Whoever said this can suck my big f****** Mexican c***." And today, the poetry continues with a "Get your a** back to Mexico, you f******* spic." I bet I can guess what's coming next: "This is our land, you f****** gringo. You get your a** back to Europe." (Do you think my dialogue sounds authentic?) As much as I enjoy the honesty of the john (I wish we could get this candor on the General Social Survey I analyze so much) I prefer clean walls. Welcome to multicultural America.

Update: I couldn't write this stuff. Today, I find that after two years, the walls have finally been cleaned. Did months and months of unsightly scribbling all over the place motivate a cleanup? No. Did the desire to take action against gang activity on campus motivate the cleanup? No. So what motivated it? Because someone wrote the word "beaner" on the wall.

Monday, January 01, 2007

English-speaking countries love pot: People in 26 countries were asked if they had ever tried marijuana ( English-speaking countries came out on top, while sober Japan was WAY below everyone else. (Keep in mind that one reason the numbers are low is that a significant proportion of the samples are old people who grew up before the 60s). Interesting that Scandanavians love to drink but avoid drugs. And with a name like marijuana, only 1.3% of Mexicans ever tried the stuff? Strange. This is evidence that the U.S. is a bad influence on Mexicans: in an earlier post of mine, 9% of Mexican-American teens smoke pot at least weekly, and other surveys indicate that they use drugs more than whites or blacks.

Percent 15 and over who ever tried marijuana:

New Zealand 22.2
Australia 17.9
United States 12.3
United Kingdom 9.0
Switzerland 8.5
Ireland 7.9
Spain 7.6
Canada 7.4

Weighted average 5.8

Netherlands 5.2
Belgium 5.0
France 4.7
Italy 4.6
Greece 4.4
Germany 4.1
Denmark 4.0
Norway 3.8
Portugal 3.7
Czech Republic 3.6
Poland 3.4
Austria 3.0
Finland 2.5
Luxembourg 1.9
Hungary 1.2
Mexico 1.3
Sweden 1.0
Japan 0.05

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...