Americans are becoming better-behaved

Americans—that is, average Americans, not necessarily Hollywood stars, sports stars and the financial and governmental elite—are becoming better-behaved.

  • Homicide rates are down.
  • Domestic violence is down.
  • Child abuse is down
  • Cocaine use is down (although marijuana use is up)
  • Alcoholism is down
  • Drunk driving is down.
  • Cigarette smoking is down.
  • Illicit drug use by teenagers is down.
  • Alcohol use by teenagers is down.
  • Cigarette smoking by teenagers is down.
  • Teenage pregnancy is down.

The main exception to these trends is that Americans are slower to get married than in the past and quicker to become divorced.  But maybe it is better to be unmarried or divorced than in a bad or abusive marriage.

This is not to say that because homicide, domestic violence and teenage pregnancy are declining, there is no need to be concerned about them.  Or that there are no neighborhoods or places where bad behaviors are prevelant.

But in general, it is wrong to blame the USA’s problems on lack of moral fiber among working people and the middle class.  As I look around me, I see young people working harder for less reward and less security than I ever did or had in the 1960s.


An Epidemic of Americans Behaving Well by Noah Smith for BloombergView.

Violent U.S. crime drops again, reaching 1970s levels by Ian Simpson for Reuters.

In US, a decline in domestic violence by Stacy Teicher Kadaroo for the Christian Science Monitor.

Teenage drug and alcohol use continues to fall, new federal data show by Christopher Ingraham for the Washington Post.

Teenage pregnancy, birth, abortion rates all falling by Amina Khan for the Los Angeles Times.

Nearly 40 percent of millennials think teen sex and homosexuality are wrong by Jenny Kutner for Salon.

How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health by Robert P. Jones and Daniel Cox for the Public Religion Research Institute.

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One Response to “Americans are becoming better-behaved”

  1. thetinfoilhatsociety Says:

    And yet the penalties for nonviolent crime and for misdemeanors are greater than ever.


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