Age-by-Race Specific Crime Rates, 1965-1985: [United States] (ICPSR 9589)

Principal Investigator(s): Cohen, Jacqueline, Carnegie Mellon University; Rosenfeld, Richard, University of Missouri-St. Louis


These data examine the effects on total crime rates of changes in the demographic composition of the population and changes in criminality of specific age and race groups. The collection contains estimates from national data of annual age-by-race specific arrest rates and crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary over the 21-year period 1965-1985. The data address the following questions: (1) Are the crime rates reported by the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) data series valid indicators of national crime trends? (2) How much of the change between 1965 and 1985 in total crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary is attributable to changes in the age and race composition of the population, and how much is accounted for by changes in crime rates within age-by-race specific subgroups? (3) What are the effects of age and race on subgroup crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary? (4) What is the effect of time period on subgroup crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary? (5) What is the effect of birth cohort, particularly the effect of the very large (baby-boom) cohorts following World War II, on subgroup crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary? (6) What is the effect of interactions among age, race, time period, and cohort on subgroup crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary? (7) How do patterns of age-by-race specific crime rates for murder, robbery, and burglary compare for different demographic subgroups? The variables in this study fall into four categories. The first category includes variables that define the race-age cohort of the unit of observation. The values of these variables are directly available from UCR and include year of observation (from 1965-1985), age group, and race. The second category of variables were computed using UCR data pertaining to the first category of variables. These are period, birth cohort of age group in each year, and average cohort size for each single age within each single group. The third category includes variables that describe the annual age-by-race specific arrest rates for the different crime types. These variables were estimated for race, age, group, crime type, and year using data directly available from UCR and population estimates from Census publications. The fourth category includes variables similar to the third group. Data for estimating these variables were derived from available UCR data on the total number of offenses known to the police and total arrests in combination with the age-by-race specific arrest rates for the different crime types.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS1:  Data File - Download All Files (0.162 MB)
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DS2:  SAS Data Definition Statements - Download All Files (0.007 MB)

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Study Description


Cohen, Jacqueline, and Richard Rosenfeld. AGE-BY-RACE SPECIFIC CRIME RATES, 1965-1985: [UNITED STATES]. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University, Urban Systems Institute, School of Urban and Public Affairs, and St. Louis, MO: University of Missouri, Dept. of Criminology and Criminal Justice [producers], 1990. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1991.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (86-IJ-CX-0083)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    age, arrests, burglary, crime rates, demographic characteristics, murder, population characteristics, race, rape, robbery

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1965--1985

Date of Collection:   

  • 1965--1985

Universe:    All arrests and crimes reported to police in the United States during the period 1965-1985.

Data Type(s):    aggregate data


Data Source:

Federal Bureau of Investigation. UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS: CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES (Published Report).

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1991-10-23

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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