Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guns and homicide

I am currently putting together a large cross-national data set and will report interesting correlations. Let me begin with the relationship between civilian gun availability and homicide. I calculated the Pearson correlation between the two rates using data from the Small Arms Survey and WHO's recent study of homicide. For a sample of 181 countries, the correlation is -.25. That means that countries with more guns tend to have less lethal violence.

Gun ownership is strongly related to per capita GDP (.48). Countries with many guns like the United States (which is the world's leader with 88 firearms per 100 people) are typically wealthy. We Americans usually think of Europe as being practically gun free, but they have significantly higher levels than many poor countries. And two of the poorest regions are also the most violent--Latin America and especailly Sub-Saharan Africa. An African country might have less than one gun per 100 people, but that doesn't stop it from having a homicide rate many times the global average. I might get different results when I conduct a multivariate analysis--gun availability might lead to more violence when GDP is controlled, for example--but guns are not a serious enough factor to overwhelm more important causes of homicide.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Low crime rate in Malaysia

I'm looking at self-report and victim data (which I can't give details on) that shows that crimes of all types are much more common in the U.S. than Malaysia. Why such a huge difference? The sociologist would expect the poor country to be the criminogenic one, but he's an idiot so we'll leave him aside. The HBD-er might answer that Malaysia is an Asian country, and Asians are law-abiding.

I wanted to see if Islam and sharia might have something to do with it. I looked up the most recent homicide counts (WHO) for Malaysia and Thailand--a contiguous, non-Islamic Asian country--and calculated rates. The rate for Malaysia is .5 victims per 100,000 total population. For Thailand, it's 6.2--12 times the Malaysian rate. This is consistent with the view that crime levels are lower in societies with intense religious cultures.

UPDATE: The plot thickens: I see Wikipedia lists homicide rates. While its data shows that Thailand is worse than Malaysia, Indonesia has a high rate. Also--rates are below average in the the Near East/Middle East/SW Asian region.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Correlates of crime

In Handbook of Crime Correlates, Lee Ellis and colleagues review hundreds of studies and summarize the results. Here are some interesting findings:

1. Thirty-two studies fail to find a clear difference between males and females in partner violence. Evidently women hit just as often; men just hit harder.

2. While police data show higher arrest rates for Hispanics and especially blacks compared to whites, self-reported crime differences are not consistent (322 studies). This is not really a problem. Self-report studies capture minor crime while arrest data taps more serious crime. Similar to the gender gap, whites, blacks, and Hispanics don't differ much on minor offenses. Clear differences emerge as crimes become more serious.

3. Seventy-eight self-report and arrest studies show unequivocally that American Indians (AIs) have higher crime rates than whites. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that since AIs have not lived under violence-suppressing states for as many centuries as other populations, they have not been "tamed" to the same extent.

4. Whites are more criminal than East Asians--at least according to police data (37 studies).

5. Crime rates of whites and South Asians do not differ signficantly (16 studies).

6. Oceanic Islanders are more criminal than whites (25 studies).

7. Areas with more taverns, liquor stores, and alcohol consumption have higher crime rates (26 studies).

8. Crime rates are higher in areas with more gambling and tourism establishments (11 studies).

9. Crime rates are higher in areas where religious membership is low (12 studies).

10. Regions closer to the equator have more crime (35 studies).

11. Later-borns are more criminal than first-borns (12 studies).

12. People with more friends are less criminal (25 studies).

13. Employed teens are more delinquent (19 studies).

14. Religious people are less criminal (112 studies).

15. People with orthodox religious beliefs are less criminal (18 studies).

16. Jews are less criminal than non-Jews (28 studies).

17. People with more sex partners are more criminal (39 studies).

18. Teens who have sex for the first time at younger ages are more delinquent (23 studies).

19. People who have more tolerant attitudes toward crime and drugs are more criminal (34 studies).

20.  People with defiant and rebellious attitudes are more criminal (46 studies).

Many of these findings make perfect sense to a social conservative.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hispanic and white working-class voters

Would someone explain why the national media goes on endlessly about the critical importance of the Latino vote? According to this 538 table, Hispanic might is really only felt in states that are clearly blue (ie., California) or clearly red (i.e., Texas). Very small percentages of voting Hispanics in 2008 were in swing states. Focusing on this year's key states, the share of all Hispanic voters was one percent in Nevada and North Carolina. It was two percent of all Hispanic voters in Ohio and Virginia. It was only three percent in Colorado. The share is large only in Florida, but the state is not filled with Mexican Americans demanding amnesty for their illegal co-ethnics. Plus, come hell or high water, Latinos vote 2-to-1 for Democrats, so they are not swing voters but part of the Democrat base.

I watch the polls very closely, and Romney is doing surprisingly well in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan (or more precisely, Obama is doing surprisingly badly, especially when one considers the auto bailout). All the Hispandering, in addition to pandering to homosexuals and women who want free birth control, seems to be causing a reaction among working-class whites in the Rust Belt. Blue-collar whites vote in much larger numbers than Latinos in swing states, but Big Media doesn't give a shit about them.

Pew: Asians now the largest group of new immigrants

According to Pew Research:
Asians recently passed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States. The educational credentials of these recent arrivals are striking. More than six-in-ten (61%) adults ages 25 to 64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is double the share among recent non-Asian arrivals, and almost surely makes the recent Asian arrivals the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in U.S. history.

Compared with the educational attainment of the population in their country of origin, recent Asian immigrants also stand out as a select group. For example, about 27% of adults ages 25 to 64 in South Korea and 25% in Japan have a bachelor’s degree or more. In contrast, nearly 70% of comparably aged recent immigrants from these two countries have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Recent Asian immigrants are also about three times as likely as recent immigrants from other parts of the world to receive their green cards—or permanent resident status—on the basis of employer rather than family sponsorship (though family reunification remains the most common legal gateway to the U.S. for Asian immigrants, as it is for all immigrants).

The modern immigration wave from Asia is nearly a half century old and has pushed the total population of Asian Americans—foreign born and U.S born, adults and children—to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8% of the total U.S. population, up from less than 1% in 1965. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites are 197.5 million and 63.3%, Hispanics 52.0 million and 16.7% and non-Hispanic blacks 38.3 million and 12.3%.

Asian Americans trace their roots to any of dozens of countries in the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Each country of origin subgroup has its own unique history, culture, language, religious beliefs, economic and demographic traits, social and political values, and pathways into America.

But despite often sizable subgroup differences, Asian Americans are distinctive as a whole, especially when compared with all U.S. adults, whom they exceed not just in the share with a college degree (49% vs. 28%), but also in median annual household income ($66,000 versus $49,800) and median household wealth ($83,500 vs. $68,529).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Immigration and median incomes

Here's a DHS report of the number of U.S. naturalizations in 2011. I've listed below the top twenty sending countries. Next to the country, I show the median personal income for people born in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 64 whose family came from the respective country (ACS data) . The overall median American income is $45,149.

Median personal income
1. Mexico 29,076
2. India 50,000
3. Philippines 39,460
4. China 51,921
5. Colombia 38,422
6. Cuba 40,000
7. Vietnam 39,910
8. Dominican Republic 30,000
9. Jamaica 30,969
10. Haiti 32,036
11. El Salvador 30,000
12. S. Korea 41,701
13. Pakistan 41,537
14. Peru 38,000
15. Brazil 39,460
16. Nigeria 34,300
17. Canada 37,376
18. Iran 41,537
19. United Kingdom 45,559
20. Poland 41,537

People from Mexico dwarf all other countries in numbers of 2011 U.S. naturalized citizens (95,000 Mexicans vs. 46,000 Indians--the next largest group) but the median income of Mexican-Americans is only a fraction of the average. It is the poorest group on the list, even lower than black groups. But the news is worse than that. Of the 20 countries listed, only Asian Indians, Chinese, and those whose families came from the UK earn above-average incomes. Americans with ancestors from the other 17 countries are below-average. And Dominicans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Salvadorans, and Nigerians are really low. Immigration from these countries is leading to more low-income Americans. And I'm focusing on native-born Americans, not their immigrant parents. (The reality is probably a little better since the average age of the native-born of many of these groups is lower than the overall American average, and income, of course, is related to age.)

The only bright spot is that two of the large immigration groups--Indians and Chinese--earn a lot of money.

Back to the bad news: not only do the poor groups tend to vote Democrat, their better off members do too, and even wealthy immigrant groups like Indian and Chinese Americans lean Left.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another look at Muslim fertility

In the comments of the recent post on Muslim fertility, Dr. Charlton expresses skepticism about the validity of the study reported. He writes that we should assume that a peer-reviewed study has been conducted by someone who is dishonest or incompetent. I've been reading and conducting research for almost 20 years and agree with his view. That doesn't mean that every study is actually bad, but the publication process in the social sciences is sufficiently corrupt to cause one to be skeptical. This is one reason that I go to the original data if I can.

Let's do that now with fertility data. I went to the Population Reference Bureau and obtained 2011 total fertility rates (TFR) for Muslim-majority countries. TFR is an estimate of the total number of children the average woman will have based on current birth rates.

2011 Total Fertility Rate

Niger 7.0
Mali 6.4
Somalia 6.4
Afghanistan 6.3
Chad 6.0
Burkina Faso 5.8
Nigeria 5.7
Guinea 5.3
Yemen 5.3
Gambia 5.0
Sierra Leone 5.0
Comoros 4.8
Iraq 4.7
Senegal 4.7
Palestinian territory 4.6
Sudan 4.5
Mauritania 4.4
Western Sahara 4.3
Mayotte 4.2
Jordan 3.8
Djibouti 3.7
Pakistan 3.6
Tajikistan 3.4
Oman 3.3
Syria 3.2
Kyrgyzstan 3.0
Egypt 2.9
Saudi Arabia 2.9
Kazakhstan 2.7
Uzbekistan 2.7
Malaysia 2.6
Kosovo 2.5
Libya 2.5
Bangladesh 2.4
Maldives 2.4
Turkmenistan 2.4
Azerbaijan 2.3
Indonesia 2.3
Kuwait 2.3
Algeria 2.3
Morocco 2.2
Lebanon 2.1
Qatar 2.1
Tunisia 2.1
Turkey 2.1

USA 2.0

Bahrain 1.9
Iran 1.9
United Arab Emirates 1.8
Brunei 1.7
Albania 1.4

While the rates are impressively low in some countries--Iran, Turkey, and Indonesia jump out at me--Dr. Charlton is right: the picture is not as rosy as Eberstadt (the author) suggests. While Eberstadt does write that he is focusing on countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa, there are still many countries with high TFRs. Just focusing on the large countries, we could mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (which has 180 million people). And Eberstadt does say that, "Throughout the Ummah, fertility levels are falling dramatically." That makes it sounds like things are getting good globally, but look at those sub-Saharan numbers. Nigeria alone has 75 milllion people. With a TFR of 5.7, the country will double in size in a generation. (Nigeria's annual growth rate is 2.27 percent, so using the rule of 72, the country should double in size in  31.7 years.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Robert Wright on evolutionists vs. creationists

From the Atlantic:

A few decades ago, Darwinians and creationists had a de facto nonaggression pact: Creationists would let Darwinians reign in biology class, and otherwise Darwinians would leave creationists alone. The deal worked. I went to a public high school in a pretty religious part of the country--south-central Texas--and I don't remember anyone complaining about sophomores being taught natural selection. It just wasn't an issue.

A few years ago, such biologists as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers started violating the nonaggression pact. [Which isn't to say the violation was wholly unprovoked; see my update below.] I don't just mean they professed atheism--many Darwinians had long done that; I mean they started proselytizing, ridiculing the faithful, and talking as if religion was an inherently pernicious thing. They not only highlighted the previously subdued tension between Darwinism and creationism but depicted Darwinism as the enemy of religion more broadly.

If the only thing this Darwinian assault did was amp up resistance to teaching evolution in public schools, the damage, though regrettable, would be limited. My fear is that the damage is broader--that fundamentalist Christians, upon being maligned by know-it-all Darwinians, are starting to see secular scientists more broadly as the enemy; Darwinians, climate scientists, and stem cell researchers start to seem like a single, menacing blur.

I'm not saying that the new, militant Darwinian atheists are the only cause of what is called (with perhaps some hyperbole) "science denialism." But I do think that if somebody wants to convince a fundamentalist Christian that climate scientists aren't to be trusted, the Christian's prior association of scientists like Dawkins with evil makes that job easier.

I reiterate that this theory is conjectural--so conjectural that "hypothesis" is a better word for it than "theory". The jury may remain out on it forever.

Meanwhile, some data to keep your eye on: Check out the extreme right of the graph above. Over the past two years, the portion of respondents who don't believe in evolution has grown by six percentage points. Where did those people come from? The graph suggests they're people who had previously believed in an evolution guided by God--a group whose size dropped by a corresponding six percentage points. It's as if people who had previously seen evolution and religion as compatible were told by the new militant Darwinians, "No, you must choose: Which is it, evolution or religion?"--and pretty much all of them chose religion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The amazing decline in Muslim fertility

According to this study, fertility in much of the Ummah--the worldwide community of followers of Islam--has fallen in the past 20 years to levels comparable to the United States. If that isn't amazing enough, the data indicate that increased use of birth control and socioeconomic development have had little to do with it. (And the article doesn't even mention abortion as an explanation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but abortion is illegal and rare in many Muslim countries.)

By contrast, the correlation between desired and actual family size is extremely high in these countries. According to the author, the revolutionary change has been due to changes in individual family size preferences. He doesn't use the world culture, but that's what I would call it when people's preferences change collectively.

This dramatic worldwide decline should reduce immigration numbers and ease the assimilation problems in the developed world.

Data on gay marriage

This article shows, that based on extensive European experience, there is less enthusiasm for marriage and more enthusiasm for divorce among homosexuals (especially lesbians) compared to straights.

And this article describes a new study which improves on the methods of previous research and finds that kids in same-sex families turn out worse as a adults than children raised in two-parent biological families (perhaps because their childhoods were less stable).

Monday, June 11, 2012

The devout gay Mormon therapist with a wife and three kids

This is fascinating. It is the story of a devout gay Mormon therapist who has been happily married to a lovely (and understanding) woman for 10 years. He told her he was gay on a date when he was 16. Their sex is intimate, not a sexual turn-on for him, and they have three beautiful daughters. The girls, in turn, have what is their birthright--a mother and a father.

White teens and drunk driving

FBI data shows that if you're the parent of a black teenager, your child is disproportionately likely to commit just about any type of crime. But are there crimes that white parents need to be particularly concerned about? The answer is yes. Roughly 90 percent of juvenile arrestees for drunkenness, liquor law violations, and driving under the influence are white (or Hispanic).

Just last Saturday night I overheard my teenage neighbors say they were going to get "white girl trashed."

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Pakistani immigration to Norway increasing the incidence of progressive encephalopathy

Here's a recent study from The European Journal of Paediatric Neurology:
Progressive encephalopathy (PE) in children is a heterogeneous group of individually rare diseases with a cumulative incidence which compares to that of neural tube defects and infantile hydrocephalus. The main cause of PE is metabolic disease, but neurodegenerative disorders lacking known metabolic or other causes also exist. PE poses a challenge to our health care system due to difficulties in its diagnosis and management, 4–6 and a high case fatality. For example, in a cohort study we showed that the case fatality of PE was 36.9%. In the same cohort, the incidence rate was 6.4 per 100,000 person years at risk, and the cumulative incidence was 0.6 per 1000 live births, comparable to that of other reports.

Using data from this cohort combined with outstandingly detailed national-wide population statistics we wanted to pin point the increased risk of PE associated with consanguinity. Over the past 20 years there has been a six-fold increase in non-Western immigration to Norway (the nomenclature regarding non-Western has recently been suggested revised). In 2006, non-Western immigrants accounted for 18.6% of Oslo’s total population of 538,411 inhabitants. The largest non-Western group is from Pakistan. In Pakistan, approximately 60% of marriages are consanguineous and unions occur primarily between first cousins. Norway is the only country in the world collecting data on consanguinity for its entire population at birth. Approximately 50% of children of Pakistani origin born in Norway are the result of consanguineous unions, defined as parents who are second cousins or more closely related. Of first generation Pakistani immigrants, 43.9% were first cousins. In Norway, parental consanguinity in the Pakistani population is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, congenital malformations, and infant death, all considered complex genetic conditions.

When autosomal recessive gene defects are rare, the likelihood of unrelated parents being carriers for the same defect is small. The less frequent the recessive gene, the stronger the likelihood that an affected individual is the product of a consanguineous mating. Since many of the diseases causing PE are determined by single mutant genes, for example in autosomal recessive inborn errors of metabolism, it was reasonable to assume that children of consanguineous unions had a higher risk of PE, and that PE consequently would be more common in children of Pakistani origin. However, the degree of increased risk of PE caused by consanguinity has not been precisely assessed in previous studies. Here we report an approximately seven-fold increased risk of PE in children of Pakistani origin and an eleven-fold increased risk when consanguineous Pakistanis were compared to the general Norwegian population. We also estimated that avoidance of consanguinity in the Pakistani population would result in 50% reduction of PE in this group.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Do people choose spouses who are like their parents?

New from the Journal of Research in Personality:
Both psychoanalytic views of attachment and evolutionary theories of imprinting suggest that mates may be preferentially chosen to resemble one’s parents. Using data from a large Dutch study of twins and their families, we tested these hypotheses with regard to personality traits from the Five-Factor Model. Little evidence of parent/spouse similarity was found, although women did tend to select a husband who resembled their parents with regard to Openness to Experience. This effect may be due to the influence of Openness on their social worlds, rather than to their experiences in early childhood.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Barone predicts America's demographic future

Michael Barone on U.S. demographic trends:
Since 1990, Americans have been moving out of California to other states in large numbers. The Golden State's population growth in the last two decades has reached the national average only because of Latin and Asian immigration.

That immigration, to California and elsewhere, is one of the two big demographic trends that have reshaped the country over the last 40 years. The other is the movement of vast numbers of people from high-tax states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest to lower-tax and more economically vibrant states elsewhere.

Both these movements have halted, at least temporarily. American mobility is near an all-time low. As in the Depression of the 1930s, people tend to stay put in hard times. You don't want to sell your house if you're underwater on your mortgage.

And immigration has plunged. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that from 2005 to 2010, more people have moved from the United States to Mexico than the other way around. I suspect that reverse migration is still going on.

The question is whether those trends will resume when -- if? -- good times return.

My prediction is that we won't ever again see the heavy Latin immigration we saw between 1983 and 2007, which averaged 300,000 legal immigrants and perhaps as many illegals annually.

Mexican and other Latin birthrates fell more than two decades ago. And Mexico, source of 60 percent of Latin immigrants, is now a majority-middle-class country.

Asian immigration may continue, primarily from China and India, especially if we have the good sense to change our laws to let in more high-skill immigrants.

But the next big immigration source, I think, will be sub-Saharan Africa. We may end up with prominent politicians who actually were born in Kenya.

Continued domestic out-migration from high-tax states? Certainly from California, where Gov. Jerry Brown wants to raise taxes even higher. With foreign immigration down, California is likely to grow more slowly than the nation, for the first time in history, and could even start losing population.

Fortunately, governors of some other high-tax states are itching to cut taxes. The shale oil and natural gas boom has job-seekers streaming to hitherto unlikely spots like North Dakota and northeast Ohio. Great Plains cities like Omaha and Des Moines are looking pretty healthy, too.

It's not clear whether Atlanta and its smaller kin -- Charlotte, Raleigh, Nashville, Jacksonville -- will resume their robust growth. They've suffered high unemployment lately.

But Texas has been doing very well. If you draw a triangle whose points are Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, enclosing Austin, you've just drawn a map of the economic and jobs engine of North America.

Texas prospers not just because of oil and gas, but thanks to a diversified and sophisticated economy. It has attracted large numbers of both immigrants and domestic migrants for a quarter century. One in 12 Americans lives there.

America is getting to look a lot more like Texas, and that's one trend that I hope continues.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Laziness and job status among blacks

In his book White Guilt, Shelby Steele argues that few blacks excel in high status jobs because they lack the required skills. From childhood they are told that failure is not their fault, so they never learn that they are responsible for their lack of skills. While other people are working hard to become competent to avoid feeling like failures, blacks don't fear failure; after all, it's not their doing, it's the system.

GSS data can give us some idea if a work ethic among blacks is as important as Steele thinks. Respondents were asked:  "To what extent do you agree or disagree that you see yourself as someone who tends to be lazy." Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (1) to "strongly disagree" (5). I calculated the means for those with low job prestige and those with high prestige. The mean work ethic score is 4.19 for the low-status group (n = 115) and 4.03 for the high-status group (n = 66). The two means are not signficantly different. According to these data, higher class blacks are no more hard working than their lower class counterparts. (The means indicate a bias toward thinking that one is not lazy, but this is not really a problem when comparing the two groups unless the bias is systematically stronger in one group than the other.)

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 ...