Population and Environment

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 501–511 | Cite as

Cross-National Variation in Violent Crime Rates: Race, r-K Theory, and Income

  • J. Philippe Rushton
  • Glayde Whitney


Rushton's theory of r-K race differences was examined in relation to the rate of murder, rape, and serious assault per 100,000 population and Gross Domestic Product per Person for 74 countries from the 1993–1996 International Crime Statistics published by INTERPOL and the 1999 CIA World Fact Book. Each country was assigned to one of the three macro-races East Asian, European, and African. The results corroborated earlier findings that violent crime is lowest in East Asian countries, intermediate in European countries, and highest in African and in Black Caribbean countries. The median number of violent crimes per 100,000 population were: 7 East Asian countries—34; 45 European countries—42; and 22 African and Black Caribbean countries—149, respectively. The median Gross Domestic Product per Person was highest in East Asian countries ($12,600), intermediate in European countries ($7,400), and lowest in African and Black Caribbean countries ($1,900). Across the three population groups there was an “ecological correlation” of −.96 between crime and wealth (wealthier countries had less crime). Finer-grained analyses, however, found that while wealth was negatively related to crime across European or East Asian countries, it was positively related to crime for the African and Black Caribbean countries (i.e., the wealthier an African or Black Caribbean country, the greater its rate of violent crime). Future research needs to examine genetic factors in addition to cultural factors as well as their interactions.

r-K theory race differences criminal behavior 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Philippe Rushton
    • 1
  • Glayde Whitney
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityUSA

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