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Cities with more immigrants enjoy less crime, study finds

Immigrants create 'vibrant communities' and generate 'economic growth.'


Dell Cameron


Posted on Feb 7, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 1:28 am CDT

Despite claims from American white nationalists, academic researchers have found that, on average, cities with substantial immigrant populations have lower crime rates compared to those with fewer immigrants.

“Research has shown little support for the enduring proposition that increases in immigration are associated with increases in crime,” a group of criminology and sociology professors concluded in 2015. “Although classical criminological and neoclassical economic theories would predict immigration to increase crime, most empirical research shows quite the opposite.”

The academics published their findings this year in the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice.

The researchers, who analyzed census data spanning four decades for 200 randomly selected metropolitan areas, noted a correlation between lower levels of criminal activity and higher concentrations of immigrants. “The most common explanation is that immigration reduces levels of crime by revitalizing urban neighborhoods, creating vibrant communities and generating economic growth,” the same researchers wrote Tuesday in Scientific America.

In a chorus of studies exploring the connection between immigration and violent crime in the U.S., a separate group of academics also found that cities “with great concentrations of immigrants have lower rates of crime and violence, all else being equal.”

Cities with “historically high immigration levels are especially likely to enjoy reduced crime rates as a result of their immigrant populations,” the academics, who conducted “meta-analysis” on more than 50 studies, wrote.

“Our analysis of the literature reveals that immigration has a weak crime-suppressing effect,” they said. “In other words, more immigration equals less crime.”

Read the firsthand reports of these researchers and more at Scientific Americans. 

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*First Published: Feb 7, 2017, 1:23 pm CST