National Youth Gang Survey Analysis

Gang Member Migration

Prevalence of Gang Member Migration

In 2010, respondents provided information regarding the presence of gang members who have migrated to their jurisdictions.

Gang member migration refers to the movement of actively involved gang youth from other U.S. jurisdictions to the respondents’ jurisdictions.

Likelihood of Gang Member Migration in Nonmetropolitan Areas

Herein, “nonmetro” refers to police and sheriffs’ departments in the NYGS sample that are located outside of metropolitan areas, where gang activity is largely and historically concentrated.

Gang Member Migration Problems in Nonmetropolitan Areas, 2010 pie chart.

Gang Member Migration Problems in Nonmetropolitan Areas, 2010
Percent of Jurisdictions Reporting Migration
Gang Activity, Gang Member Migration 12.2%
Gang Activity, No Gang Member Migration 6.8%
No Gang Activity, No Gang Member Migration 81.0%
Gang Migrant Composition of Local Gang Members
Of local gang members, gang migrants compose. . . Percent of Agencies
. . .less than one-quarter 56.9%
. . .one-quarter to one-half 27.7%
. . .more than half 15.4%

Influential Factors on Gang Member Migration

The reasons gang members migrate can be grouped into two categories:

  1. Illegitimate reasons, including drug distribution and other illegal activities, recruiting members, and avoiding law enforcement.
  2. Legitimate or “social” reasons, including concerns and efforts to improve quality of life, including moves with family for employment and/or educational opportunities.

Respondents provided information regarding the influential factors on gang member migration in their jurisdictions in 2010.

Factors Influencing Gang Member Migration, 2010 bar chart.

Factors Influencing Gang Member Migration
Percent of Agencies
Social Reasons 46.7%
Drug Market Opportunities 13.6%
Other Illegal Ventures 10.4%
Avoid LE Crackdowns 13.2%
Get Away From Gang Life 6.0%

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