National Youth Gang Survey Analysis

Demographics

Age of Gang Members

Respondents provided information regarding the estimated ages of gang members in their jurisdictions.

  • In virtually every survey year, law enforcement agencies report a greater percentage of adult (18 and over) gang members compared with juvenile (under 18) gang members.
  • The most recent figures provided by law enforcement indicate that more than three out of every five gang members are adults.

Age of Gang Members, 1996–2011 bar chart

Age of Gang Members, 1996–2011
Juvenile (Under 18) Adult (18 and Over)
1996 50.0 50.0
1998 40.1 59.9
1999 37.3 62.7
2001 33.2 66.8
2002 38.0 61.9
2004 41.1 58.9
2005 38.9 61.1
2006 36.5 63.5
2008 41.4 58.6
2011 35.0 65.0

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

Age of Gang Members by Area Type

The age of gang members is compared across area types in 2011.

  • Larger cities and suburban counties, which typically have long-standing gang problems, are more likely to report more adult gang members than juvenile gang members.
  • Conversely, smaller cities and rural counties, whose gang problems are relatively more recent, are more likely to report equal proportions of juvenile and adult gang members.

Age of Gang Members by Area Type, 2011 bar chart

Age of Gang Members by Area Type, 2011
Juvenile (Under 18) Adult (18 and Over)
Larger Cities 32.6 67.4
Suburban Counties 36.7 63.3
Smaller Cities 48.0 52.0
Rural Counties 58.9 41.1

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

Gender of Gang Members

Respondents provided information regarding the gender of gang members in their jurisdictions.

  • Law enforcement agencies overwhelmingly report a greater percentage of male gang members versus female gang members—a typical finding from law enforcement data, but one that is challenged by other research methodologies.
  • Despite a growing concern of females joining gangs, little to no change in the percentage is observed across survey years.

Gender of Gang Members, 1998–2010 bar chart

Gender of Gang Members, 1998–2010
Female Male
1998 7.7 92.3
2000 6.4 93.6
2002 7.3 92.8
2004 6.1 93.9
2007 6.6 93.4
2010 7.4 92.6

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

Gangs With Female Members

Respondents provided information regarding gangs with female members in their jurisdictions.

  • A large percentage of agencies (nearly one-quarter) could not provide information regarding the prevalence of female membership within gangs, suggesting that this issue is of secondary or lesser significance for law enforcement.
  • Of those agencies that could provide information, proportionally few (less than 15 percent) reported that none of the gangs in their jurisdictions have female members.
  • Nearly half of the gangs outside of the larger cities are reported to have female gang members, compared with approximately one in four in the larger cities. Of course, these results must be interpreted cautiously because of the sizeable amount of missing data.

Percent of Gangs With Female Members, 2009 bar chart

Percent of Gangs With Female Members, 2009
Percent
Larger Cities 22.8%
Suburban Counties 45.3%
Smaller Cities 43.0%
Rural Counties 49.5%

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

Race/Ethnicity of Gang Members

Respondents provided information regarding the race/ethnicity of gang members in their jurisdictions.

  • Law enforcement agencies report a greater percentage of Hispanic/Latino and African-American/black gang members compared with other race/ethnicities.
  • The most recent figures provided by law enforcement are 46 percent Hispanic/Latino gang members, 35 percent African-American/black gang members, more than 11 percent white gang members, and 7 percent other race/ethnicity of gang members.

Race/ethnicity of Gang Members, 1996–2011 line chart

Race/Ethnicity of Gang Members, 1996–2011
Year Hispanic or Latino Black or African American White All Other
1996 45.2 35.6 11.6 7.5
1998 46.5 33.6 11.8 8.0
1999 47.3 30.9 13.4 8.4
2001 49.0 33.7 10.3 7.0
2002 47.0 35.7 10.4 6.9
2004 48.7 37.8 7.9 5.7
2005 50.1 32.6 9.5 7.7
2006 49.5 35.2 8.5 6.8
2008 50.2 31.8 10.5 7.6
2011 46.2 35.3 11.5 7.0

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

Race/Ethnicity of Gang Members by Area Type

The race/ethnicity of gang members is compared by area type.

  • Across all area types, the majority of law enforcement agencies report that African-American/black and/or Hispanic/Latino individuals predominate among documented gang members.
  • Prevalence rates of white gang membership are lowest in larger areas but significantly higher in smaller areas, where the rate is more than 1.5 times as high.
Average Race/Ethnicity of Gang Members
by Area Type, 2011
  Larger Cities Suburban Counties Smaller Cities Rural Counties
Black or African American 39.0% 32.7% 20.3% 56.8%
Hispanic or Latino 45.5 51.0 53.8 24.8
White 9.7 9.1 14.6 14.9
Other 5.8 7.2 11.3 3.4

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

Suggested citation: National Gang Center. National Youth Gang Survey Analysis. Retrieved [date] from http://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/Survey-Analysis.