Age, gender, and crime across three historical periods:1935, 1960, and 1985

Darrell Steffensmeier, Cathy Streifel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Two of the oldest and most widely accepted conclusions in criminology are that involvement in crime diminishes with age and that males are more likely than females to offend at every age. But while there is consensus that age and gender are robust predictors of criminal involvement, insufficient research exists on their joint effects. This article examines the issue, using Uniform Crime Report arrest data for 1935,1960, and 1985, following procedures used in Steffensmeier et al. (1989) (in which, it should be noted, arrest statistics were not disaggregated by gender). The major findings of the present research are as follows: (1) the age-crime distributions of males and females are very similar across all three periods, and (2) the age curves of both males and females shift toward younger and more peaked distributions between 1935 and 1985.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-894
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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