It has been frequently suggested that a high degree of social heterogeneity is conducive to a high rate of crime. This hypothesis is explored in an explicit statistical test of the relationship between a society's homicide rate and various measures of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and economic heterogenity of that society's population, using 58 nations as units of observation.
The results support the theory that the interaction within a society of heterogeneous cultural groups tends to increase the rate of homicide. The empirical analysis controls for the effect on homicide rates of the age structure of the population, per capita gross national product, urbanization, and population density; the results suggest that the first two of these factors are also important in explaining variations in homicide rates. Three tables, 15 notes, and 48 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 1982