Debunking fears: Latino growth does not boost crime

December 09, 2009

Rural industries, such as meat-packing and textile manufacturing, create job opportunities that have brought significant numbers of Latino workers and their families to small- and medium-sized towns. This influx of Latino migrants is often met with resistance from other residents, who fear increases in crime and poverty rates. But a new study from North Carolina State University debunks those fears, showing that the introduction of Latinos contributes to positive changes, not negative ones.

"When large numbers of Latinos move into an area, some longtime residents worry that there will be a huge influx of needy people who will burden local communities by increasing crime rates and costs for local government," says Dr. Martha Crowley, assistant professor of sociology at NC State and co-author of the study. "We've found that these concerns are unfounded."

New Latino destinations saw larger declines in crime rates than other comparable areas during the 1990s. "It's clear that the fear of crime associated with an increasing Latino population does not match the reality of declining and comparatively low crime rates found in areas that had large influxes of Latinos," Crowley says.

The study examined the effects of significant Latino population growth between 1990 and 2000 in nonmetropolitan "boomtowns," which emerged as Latinos arrived to fill new jobs in low-wage industries, especially meat processing. The researchers used data on nonmetropolitan counties without a big city from the U.S. Census and other sources, such as the FBI's crime statistics. Crowley co-authored the study with Dr. Daniel Lichter of Cornell University.

The researchers also found that poverty rates and unemployment declined in areas that had an increase in Latino population. "Increasing Latino population does not drag down economic progress," Crowley says. Furthermore, Crowley says, "there was no difference between counties that saw an influx of Latinos and counties that did not in terms of tax increases or other economic costs to local citizens."

However, Crowley notes that the study did find that an increased Latino population put a strain on local schools. "We did find increased pressure on local school systems due to rapid growth in the number of students who did not speak English well," Crowley says. "This created a need for additional instructors or programs to serve those students."
-end-
The study, "Social Disorganization in New Latino Destinations?", is published in the December issue of the journal Rural Sociology.

North Carolina State University

Related Fear Articles from Brightsurf:

How does the brain process fear?
CSHL Professor Bo Li's team explores the brain circuits that underlie fear.

The overlap between fear and anxiety brain circuits
Fear and anxiety reflect overlapping brain circuits, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

Fear of missing out impacts people of all ages
The social anxiety that other people are having fun without you, also known as FoMO, is more associated with loneliness, low self-esteem and low self-compassion than with age, according to a recent study led by Washington State University psychology professor Chris Barry.

How fear transforms into anxiety
University of New Mexico researchers identify for the first time the brain-wide neural correlates of the transition from fear to anxiety.

How associative fear memory is formed in the brain
Using a mouse model, a pair of UC Riverside researchers demonstrated the formation of fear memory involves the strengthening of neural pathways between two brain areas: the hippocampus, which responds to a particular context and encodes it, and the amygdala, which triggers defensive behavior, including fear responses.

What makes fear decrease
In uncanny situations, the mere presence of an unknown person can have a calming effect.

With these neurons, extinguishing fear is its own reward
The same neurons responsible for encoding reward also form new memories to suppress fearful ones, according to new research by scientists at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.

Having to defend one's sexuality increases fear of childbirth
In order to help people with fear of childbirth, there must be trust between the patient and the healthcare staff.

Fear of hospitalization keeps men from talking about suicide
Fear of psychiatric hospitalization is one of the primary reasons that older men -- an age and gender group at high risk for suicide -- don't talk about suicide with their physicians.

Brain activity predicts fear of pain
Researchers applied a machine learning technique that could potentially translate patterns of activity in fear-processing brain regions into scores on questionnaires used to assess a patient's fear of pain.

Read More: Fear News and Fear Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.