THE POWER OF PLACE: Immigrant Communities and Adolescent Violence


*Scott A. Desmond, Purdue University, Department of Sociology, 700 West State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2059; e-mail:


Despite popular assumptions, criminologists have long recognized that crime rates are lower for various immigrant groups than for similarly disadvantaged African Americans. What accounts for this paradox? In this study, we consider the role of neighborhood context, specifically, the concentration of immigrants within a community, as a protective factor responsible, in part, for lower crime rates among various immigrant groups. We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the relationship between immigrant concentration and adolescent violence, controlling for a variety of individual-level and neighborhood predictors. The findings indicate that immigrant concentration is negatively related to adolescent violence. They also show the protective effects of immigrant concentration are stronger for some types of youth than others.