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Article
June 14, 1995

Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Domestic Homicide

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 1995;273(22):1755-1758. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520460037031
Abstract

Objective.  —A study of 222 intraracial domestic homicides in Atlanta, Ga, found that when black and white populations were unstratified, the relative risk of homicide in black populations was 5.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.3 to 8.0); when black and white populations were stratified by rates of household crowding, the relative risk of homicide in black populations was no longer significantly elevated (relative risk [RR], 1.2; 95% CI, 0.7 to 2.0). The current study sought to replicate, or not replicate, these findings in New Orleans, La.

Methods.  —Retrospective study of 349 intraracial domestic homicides perpetrated against residents of Orleans Parish in 1979, 1982, 1985, and 1986.

Main Outcome Measure.  —Relative risk of homicide in the black and white populations of New Orleans when they are stratified by rates of household crowding.

Results.  —When black and white populations of New Orleans were unstratified, the relative risk of intraracial domestic homicide in black populations was 6.3 (95% CI, 4.3 to 9.5). When black and white populations were stratified by rates of household crowding, the relative risk of homicide in black populations was no longer significantly elevated (RR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.4 to 2.9).

Conclusion.  —The findings of the Atlanta homicide study are replicated in the current study of homicide in New Orleans. In both cities, sixfold differences in black and white rates of intraracial domestic homicide are entirely accounted for by differences in socioeconomic status between the respective black and white populations. There are no significant residual differences requiring cultural explanations.(JAMA. 1995;273:1755-1758)

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