The Park Place Economist


There has been a lot of talk from many individuals about wiping out violent crime, but many times efforts are forfeited to rationalization that crime can never be stopped. This paper evaluates the impact poverty has on violent crime rates in cities across the United States. Rational choice theory suggests that individuals committing crimes are rational actors because their choices to commit crimes have the highest marginal benefit to them. This paper uses the American Community Survey Census database through IPUMS to test the hypothesis that when poverty increases, violent crime rates will also increase. This hypothesis is explored through descriptive statistics and OLS regression analysis of poverty, age, race, employment status, and educational attainment variables. The results indicated that there is a significant correlation between poverty and violent crime rates. On top of that, this paper also finds that there is a significant correlation between percentage of population being Black and violent crime rates in cities.