The ‘Poverty’ of Sociology

Zombie Meditations

It’s obvious that there is, in general, a geographical correlation between poverty and crime. What I mean by that is that if we look at a map of the United States (or the world—but this post will focus on the United States) at any given point in time, in places where we see lots of poverty, we will also see lots of crime. 

This much is beyond serious question.

What is under–appreciated, however, is just how complicated it is to actually explain why. The obviousness of the geographical correlation between poverty and crime has led many to assume that it must be just as obvious that poverty “causes” crime. On the other hand, many social conservatives have argued that poverty and crime correlate with each other only because divorce and out–of–wedlock birth produce them both: according to this argument, single–parent families produce poverty because they earn less income than two–parent families do; and they produce crime because boys raised by single mothers have no…

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