Increased Risk Factors for Boys
Statistics show boys are at greater risk than girls for developing learning disabilities, illiteracy, dropping out of school, substance abuse problems, violence, juvenile arrest, and early death caused by violent behavior. As boys grow older, risky behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, become more prevalent and gang involvement increases.
Mortality and Victimization
- Death rates are more than twice as high for adolescent males compared to adolescent females.
- An estimated 1,600 persons under age 18 were murdered in the U.S. in 2002. About two-thirds (64%) of these juvenile murder victims were male.
- Rates of suicide for adolescent males (12 per 100,000 youth) are more than five times the rate for adolescent females (2 per 100,000 youth).
- From 1993 through 2003, the nonfatal violent victimization rate for males ages 12–17 was about 50% greater than that for females.
- Injury and violence are the leading cause of death among youth ages 5-19; motor vehicle crashes account for approximately 40% of all teen deaths; and almost one-quarter of young drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking alcohol. More male drivers ages 15 to 20 are involved in fatal car crashes than females and they are also more likely to have an alcohol-involved fatal crash.
- In 2002, 1.6 million youths, or 7% of 12 to 17year-olds, ran away from home and slept on the street during the past 12 months. About 55% were male.
- In 2003, 71% of all juveniles arrested ages 17 and under (2.2 million) were boys, and boys represented 85% of juvenile offenders in residential placement.
- Juvenile arrest rates for Property Crime Index offenses (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) declined in 2003, falling 46% since 1980. In 2003, boys accounted for 68% of all juvenile property crime arrests.
- About 15% of all juvenile arrests were for Violent Crime Index offenses (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault). In 2003, boys represented 82% of all juvenile arrests for violent crimes. This rate declined in 2003 for the ninth consecutive year, falling 48% from its 1994 peak and reaching its lowest level since at least 1980.
- In 2003, the male juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate was 4.2 times the female rate compared to 8.3 times the female rate in 1980. The gender disparity between male and female violent crime arrest rates has decreased, reflecting an overall 26% decline in the male rate coupled with a 47% increase in the female rate.
Reprinted with the permission of Helping America's Youth.
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