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Structural Disadvantage and Latino Violent Offending: Assessing the Latino Paradox in Context of Established Versus Emerging Latino Destinations

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2016
20 pages
The goal of this study was to reassess the Latino paradox (Structural disadvantage has muted effects on Latino violence compared to other ethnic groups) in the context of new patterns of Latino settlement.
A long-standing finding in criminology is that structural disadvantage is a robust predictor of violence. Aligned with this finding is the racial invariance thesis, which states that the causes of violence are similar across racial/ethnic groups and that, in particular, disadvantage should be associated with higher rates of violence for all groups. Yet, a growing body of research on the Latino paradox challenges this assumption in finding that disadvantage has muted effects on Latino violence compared to other groups; hosever, related literature qualifies this by suggesting that Latino experiences with violence differ qualitatively, depending on the destination types in which Latinos settle. The current study examined whether the relationship between disadvantage and Latino violence varied between established and emerging Latino destinations. Using 2001–2004 arrest data from a multistate database, the study found that structural disadvantage was positively associated with Latino homicide and that this relationship was consistent across both emerging and established locales. In addition, the study found that the link between disadvantage and homicide was invariant across racial/ethnic groups regardless of the context of reception. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 2016