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Non-Criminal Consequences of Gang Membership: Impacts on Education and Employment in the Life-Course

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2012
192 pages
This final report presents the results of research examining the impact of adolescent gang membership on future education and employment prospects.

Key findings from this research on the lifetime impact of adolescent gang membership on education and employment prospects include the following: gang members were 30 percent less likely to obtain a high school diploma and 58 percent less likely to earn a 4-year college degree than non-gang members; the effect of adolescent gang membership on educational attainment exceeded one-half year; while ex-gang members were able to decrease the deficits in high school graduation and college matriculation rates over the course of the study, the gaps in 4-year college degree and overall educational attainment continued to grow; ex-gang members were less likely to be employed and more likely to not participate in the labor force; and the cumulative effect of adolescent gang membership on annual income in the last 6 years of the study exceeded $14,000. Data used for the research were obtained from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Cohort of 1997 (NLSY97). The data was used to examine the effects of adolescent gang membership on the nature and patterns of educational attainment and employment over a 12-year period in the life course. The findings from the research indicate that the consequences of joining a gang extend beyond the domains of crime and victimization into educational and employment prospects, and show the need for continued and improved gang prevention efforts. Prospects for future research are discussed. Figures, tables, references, and appendixes

Date Published: May 1, 2012