The effects of population density upon social disorganization



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There exist certain phenomena associated with large cities of the world, and particularly large cities in the U. S., that threaten the future with severe consequences. The populations of the cities are growing rapidly, due partly to the present rate of natural population increase and due partly to the influx of rural people to the cities. As they gain affluence these people who live and work in the city tend to move outward into the more pleasant and peaceful suburbs. This leaves the core city, which is generally the older, more dilapidated part of the city, to be filled in by the poor and disadvantaged since they cannot afford to reside in the outlying areas or are excluded by discrimination. The old core cities are becoming very crowded with people who are poor, uneducated and usually of an ethnic minority. Within these core city areas certain conditions exist about which, hopefully, city designers are most concerned. These areas are characterized by high internal and external population density levels; poverty; poor education; predominantly black or brown people; highest adult and juvenile crime rates for homicide, aggravated assault, rape, robbery and suicide; much family discord; de facto disenfranchisement, unsatisfactory housing, no amenities, and high unemployment rates. Attempts are being made to ascertain why these conditions exist and, more importantly, how to alleviate these conditions. This involves separating the independent or causal variables from the dependent or result variables and identifying other associated variables. This paper will deal, within the context of U. S. cities, with the independent variable density and its possible causal relationship with certain dependent variables which shall be known collectively as social disorganization. Social disorganization will be defined in the next section.