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Self-Reported Delinquency by 12-Year-Olds, 1997

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2000
2 pages
The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) interviewed a nationally representative sample of nearly 9,000 12-year-old at the end of 1996 and again in 1997 and early 1998, to determine whether these young people engaged in delinquent or other behaviors that might lead to future delinquency.
At the end of 1996 22 percent reported that they had smoked cigarettes, and 21 percent reported that they had used alcohol. Delinquent behaviors included purposely destroying property and engaging in assaultive behaviors. Males and females, whites and non-whites, and rural and urban 12-year-olds were equally likely to report that they had engaged in most deviant activities. Three exceptions were noted: (1) Males were more likely than females to consume alcohol; (2) Whites were more likely than nonwhites to smoke cigarettes; and (3) Young people in rural areas were more likely than their urban counterparts to consume alcohol. In general, more than half of the 12-year-olds who reported ever committing a specific delinquent act said they had committed the act within the past year. Also within the past year, males were more likely than females to carry a handgun, to purposely destroy property, and to engage in assaultive behaviors. Whites were more likely than nonwhites to carry a handgun, and nonwhites were more likely than whites to steal something worth more than $50. 1 table

Date Published: March 1, 2000