Homicide and fertility rates in the United States: a comment.

R. A. Easterlin*, M. O. Schapiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The negative correlation between annual homicide and fertility rates reported by Lyster (1974) is confirmed by statistical analysis extended to show that the correlation is largely confined to the post-World War 2 and holds for whites and nonwhites in nearly equal degree. Data support the hypothesis that homicide and fertility rates are responding to variations in psychological stress among young adults associated with swings in relative cohort size, the proportion of those ages 15-29 to those ages 30-64. It is suggested that periods of increase in the relative number of young men weakens their labor market position, and the result is to increase psychological stress, to discourage traditional role fulfillment such as family building, and to encourage antisocial behavior, indexed here by homicide rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-343
Number of pages3
JournalSocial Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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