• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the relationship between poverty and crime.

Extracts from this document...


INTRODUCTION This report aims to explore the relationship between poverty and crime. This is by no means a succinct topic and for a comprehensive overview to be sought, the report needs to be broken down into several areas. Such areas include a definition into what exactly is meant by poverty, the causes and also how each primary cause of poverty belies a link to crime.......................... WHAT IS POVERTY? Poverty can be measured in a variety of ways: unemployment, high rate of divorce, single-parent households, dilapidated housing, poor school or concentration of minorities, are but a few examples. Therefore in an effort to determine the relationship between poverty and crime all these factors must be considered. Firstly it must be pointed out that in terms of social inequality poverty is studied in terms of relative and not absolute deprivation. Relative depravation is best understood through the words of Karl Marx as he once said : "A house can be large or small; as long as the surrounding houses are equally small it satisfies all social demands. But if a palace resides beside the little house, the little house shrinks into a hut." It is apparent from this that relative depravation or poverty is present in modern societies such as those in the USA and UK. WHAT CAUSES POVERTY? It is an undisputable fact that Britain under the Conservative governments from 1979 to 1997, largely pushed the issue of poverty in a political wilderness. ...read more.


Much elaborated, these theories provide the taproots for most modern theories of crime and deviance. Their relevance to the rise and rise of crime rates in the post-war period now seems indisputable, since they alone can address the paradox that crime has risen steeply with growing prosperity and reduced but persistent inequality. When greater affluence is combined with growing inequality and the rise of what has been called a winner/loser culture, crime has climbed even more steeply (James 1995). In England and Wales, official crime rates doubled over the 1979-92 period, most dramatically by 40 per cent between 1989 and 1992, though victim surveys have shown half that rate of increase. Differences of age and gender are surprisingly constant, over time and between different societies. Most crime (apart from the largely hidden icebergs of occupational crimes and domestic violence) is youth crime, committed by a minority of young men and boys under the age of 25, who are disproportionately drawn from the urban, under-educated, under-employed working class. Youth and crime are so strongly linked because adolescence is a limbo between childhood dependence and adult maturity: energies are high, outlets are few, needs are keenly felt and authority is to be tested and resisted. The gender divide persists because girls are much more carefully watched by parents, deflected from risk-raking (Hagan, Simpson and Gillis 1979) and, though here things may be changing fast, brought up to anticipate reliance on a male partner in raising a family. ...read more.


There is a clear link between lone parent families and poverty and therefore crime. Evidence from the National Centre for Policy Analysis in the USA shows the relationship between lone parent families, poverty and crime. Children of single parents are more likely to have psychological problems, fail to achieve success educationally and commit crime especially if they come from poor backgrounds. * The poverty rate for female-headed households with children is 44.5 % compared to 7.8 % for married couples with children. * The rate of arrest for juvenile violent crimes has more than tripled over the past three decades, echoing the upsurge in single-parent households. * High out-of-wedlock birth rates correlate with high crime rates among young men. * Studies show that most gang members come from single-parent homes. * Of juvenile delinquents in reform institutions, 70 % had lived in single-parent homes or with someone other than their natural parents. * One study found that 60 % of rapists come from single-parent backgrounds. * Another study found that 75 % of adolescent murderers come from single-parent homes. Many criminologists support the evidence which suggests lone parent families are poor and therefore more likely to commit crime. The 'anomie of fatherlessness' is recognised by sociologists Dennis and Erdos (1993) and they reject the opinion that "if the rate of unemployment were to fall to the level 1960s, the crime rate would fall to the level of the 1960s". They believe that the breakdown of the family and social conditions have changed too dramatically to mean that full employment would eradicate poverty and crime in the process. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Theory section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Theory essays

  1. To what extent, therefore, has current Labour Government Policy successful tackled the issue of ...

    Obviously 'major increases in the supply of affordable homes are extremely unlikely without the underpinning of adequate subsidy for production,' and from this quantitative analysis one can conclude, as Richard Best indeed argues, that it is 'by no means certain that the amounts of additional funding so far announced in

  2. The ethnic minority population of the United Kingdom has increased at a tremendous rate ...

    One of the most influential papers on ethnic minority segregation in a British context is Peach's (1995) investigation 'Does Britain have Ghettos?' in which the segregation of ethnic minority communities is measured using the 1991 Census data. Peach discovered that there are high levels of Pakistani segregation from the white population, and also from all other ethnicities (except Indians)

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: 'McDonald's stands for American cultural ...

    In a survey of school children it was found that 96% of the students could identify Ronald McDonalds in name recognition which is second to Santa Claus (Greenhouse, 1986). Because of its phenomenal success, there are restaurants throughout the world which copy McDonalds such as the fast food croissanteries in

  2. The issue of corporate crime i.e. why businessmen as opposed to the working class ...

    that it has a 'legal description' is 'socially injurious' and there is a 'legal provision of a penalty for the act'. Sutherland furthermore stated that white-collar crime was not crime because it was not punished as such11. He believed this was for three reasons. Firstly, the criminal justice system (CJS)

  1. Why has it proved so difficult to formulate a definition of poverty that is ...

    On the other hand, from the perspective which supports the concept of relative poverty, "the poor are not defined as those who fall below a fixed subsistence level but as those whose incomes are considered too far removed from the rest of the society in which they live" (p. 14).

  2. Why are men from lower socio-economic backgrounds more likely to go to prison ?

    As the daughter of two factory hands, I admit I'm a bit of a snob. But I try to be fair. Call me a mentalist, call me filthy rich, call me white trash. But call me middle-class, and you immediately identify yourself as a sad wanker who is obviously looking for a punch up the bracket.

  1. Define and explain the respective meaning of absolute poverty and relative deprivation(TM)

    For example, the World Bank has set the international poverty line at an expenditure level of $1 for every person a day.2 This figure represents the minimal amount on which a person can fulfil his or her physical needs, and a person is considered to be living in "absolute poverty" if his or her income falls below this line.

  2. In order to attempt to control crime it is important to understand why people ...

    These groups would have likely had a large impact on the results of the study as they would arguably been among the most deviant. Toby went as far as to say that the sample Nye had used could be described as non-deviant by many criminologists1.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work