The widespread publication of an ominous-looking rise in black teen homicide rates has created a disturbing buzz, but the apparent spike in murderous youths may not be nearly as drastic as it sounds. The Freakonomics Blog explains why: Compared with the jump in the 1990s, this recent rise is nearly insignificant. Also, it appears only in one age group,14- to 17-year-olds—there's no similar trend in 18- to 24-year-olds.
But most critically, the new homicide report doesn't take into account the overall swell in the number of black teenagers. Nearly half of the 39% increase reported since 2000 reflects the 15% increase in the number of people in that demo.
(Read more murder stories.)