Murder & Marginalization in Chicago: A Brief Statistical Overview

A friend’s post regarding a bloody night on the south side of Chicago where 7 were killed and 18 were wounded made me do a double take when I realized it was six blocks from my old neighborhood where I lived after I graduated from university.

Just a couple of months back in February there was a shooting about three blocks from my home in Evanston near the high school – and then another lockdown a week later for a shooting threat.

One of my former students wrote for the Chicago Now Blog Network, and they have an morbid-yet-interesting online homicide spreadsheet. Yes, the url is homicides.redeyechicago.com.

I downloaded the data and started to do a little analysis.

First of all, the racial breakdown is VERY scary.  One, according to the stats, there are no Latinos murdered in Chicago.  That’s not true…my friend S has shootings in her neighborhood all the time.

Second, with murder rates up about 12% this year, Chicago needs restoration and healing.  At this current rate, Chicago could break 500 homicides in 2010.

Third, just check out some of these breakdowns by race and gender:

Race # of Homicides Percentage
Black 353 76.74%
White 106 23.04%
Latino 0 0.00%
Asian 1 0.22%
Male 403 87.42%
Female 58 12.58%
Mean Age 28.33
Standard Dev 12.09336591

In other words, being a young African American man in Chicago give you the highest percentage of waking up dead via homicide.

I’ve spent a couple summers living among the marginalized in the West Side of Chicago, and it was there when I was introduced to Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu and some of the staggering statistics of the black community in Chicag.  The following is an excerpt from his book, Solutions for Black America.  The statistics are slightly dated since it was published in 2004.

Black median income is $32,000 versus White median income of $45,000.  Black per capita wealth is $10,000 versus White per capita wealth of $55,000.  One percent of the population owns 48% of the wealth.  Ten percent of the population owns 86% of the wealth.

Median SAT Scores:

  • Asians: 1083
  • Whites: 1063
  • Hispanics: 903
  • African Americans: 857

African Americans constitute 12% of the population, but African American males account for 43% of HIV Cases; and African American women are 64%.

In 14 of 16 health categories – diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, infant mortality, etc. – African Americans sufferers outnumber Whites.

Only 32% of African American children have fathers in the home.  The divorce rate in Black America is 66%.

In Los Angeles, African Americans constitute 11 percent of the population, but represent 47 percent of the murder victims.  In Washington DC, 1 of 12 African American males die of homicide.

Among African-American male high school students:

  • 1 in 200,000 will play in the NBA.
  • 1 in 3,700 will earn a Ph. D.
  • 1 in 766 will become a lawyer.
  • 1 in 395 will become a doctor.
  • 1 in 195 will become a teacher.
  • 1 in 20 will be incarcerated.
  • 1 in 12 will have an STD.
  • 1 in 9 will use cocaine.
  • 1 in 3 will drop out of high school.

There are 36 million “disconnected” youth in American.  These youth, 60 percent Black and Hispanic, have left high school, lack credentials, and are unemployed.

The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics in a report entitled, “Cohabitation, Marriange, Divorce and Remarriage in the United States,” showed that Black women are facing a crisis in their relationships with Black men.  According to this study, when compared to all other racial groups, Black women are:

  • Least Likely to marry
  • Least likely to marry a long-term cohabiting partner
  • Most likely to have their marriages end in separation or divorce
  • Most likely to remain separated or divorced
  • Least likely to remarry
  • Most likely to see their second marriages end
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