Given that only a small percentage (6%, perhaps) of people in poor neighborhoods become chronic juvenile offenders (and possibly adult criminals), what does that fact say about the causal connection between poverty and crime (that many people think exists)? 

Expert Answers

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This datum on its own does not really tell us much about the causal connection between poverty and crime that some people think exists.  After all, it is not as if people are claiming that every single person who grows up in poverty will become a criminal.

In isolation, this piece of information cannot really tell us much.  What we need to do is to compare this datum with some other piece of information that can give us some perspective.  The real claim made by people who think that poverty causes crime is that poor people are more likely to commit crimes.  Therefore, what we really need to do is to compare the crime rates among poor people with the crime rates among other groups of people.  This will give us much more insight into whether there is a connection between poverty and crime.

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