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Publication Household Poverty and Nonfatal Violent Victimization, 2008–2012

Marcus Berzofsky, Dr.P.H., RTI International, Lance Couzens, RTI International, Erika Harrell, Ph.D., BJS Statistician, Lynn Langton, Ph.D., BJS Statistician, Hope Smiley-McDonald, Ph.D., RTI International

November 18, 2014    NCJ 248384

Presents findings from 2008 to 2012 on the relationship between households that were above or below the federal poverty level and nonfatal violent victimization, including rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. This report examines the violent victimization experiences of persons living in households at various levels of poverty, focusing on type of violence, victim's race or Hispanic origin, and location of residence. It also examines the percentage of violent victimizations reported to the police by poverty level. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes, reported and not reported to the police, against persons age 12 or older from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households. During 2012, about 92,390 households and 162,940 persons were interviewed for the NCVS.

Highlights:

    For the period 2008–12—
  • Persons in poor households at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (39.8 per 1,000) had more than double the rate of violent victimization as persons in high-income households (16.9 per 1,000).
  • Persons in poor households had a higher rate of violence involving a firearm (3.5 per 1,000) compared to persons above the FPL (0.8–2.5 per 1,000).
  • The overall pattern of poor persons having the highest rates of violent victimization was consistent for both whites and blacks. However, the rate of violent victimization for Hispanics did not vary across poverty levels.
  • Poor Hispanics (25.3 per 1,000) had lower rates of violence compared to poor whites (46.4 per 1,000) and poor blacks (43.4 per 1,000).
  • Poor persons living in urban areas (43.9 per 1,000) had violent victimization rates similar to poor persons living in rural areas (38.8 per 1,000).
  • Poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000).

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