Family Factors and Crime

“Figuring out what causes crime could be the key to reducing it,” says a recent post over at the Institute for Family Studies blog. However, the question of crime causality

has still proven tricky to answer. Some blame culture; others blame poverty or inequality; still others blame a lack of good government. A new study looks at the question through a different lens: Maybe crime is one manifestation of a “fast life-history strategy”—a bundle of traits, unified by a wide-ranging evolutionary theory, that also includes adolescent fertility and low paternal investment. The results suggest that, indeed, nations with young mothers and absent fathers also tend to have high crime, even after other potential causes have been accounted for.

While there are nuances and caveats to be made, it is interesting that “the strongest correlation is between crime and paternal presence, which I was able to chart because the authors kindly provided me their dataset”:


The study’s findings are, of course, far more complicated, but the paper nonetheless “buttresses the argument for stable marriages and delayed childbearing, and it suggests that policymakers should familiarize themselves with the details of life-history strategies so that they might think about how to change them.”

Check out the full post.