Juvenile Delinquents Grown Up

By Glueck Sheldon; Eleanor Glueck | Go to book overview

Chapter II
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DELINQUENTS

PRELIMINARY to an analysis of the findings of the present inquiry, it is necessary to review the background of the thousand juvenile delinquents as reported in the original volume entitled One Thousand Juvenile Delinquents. It should be emphasized that in this summary, as in all the statistical data in succeeding chapters, it was not always possible to obtain full and reliable data on all the points under consideration. Hence the percentages, although statistically valid, are not necessarily based on the full thousand cases.


NATIVITY, BIRTHPLACE, AND RELIGION OF PARENTS

Some 80 per cent of the parents of the 1,000 juvenile delinquents were born in foreign countries, while a like proportion of the boys themselves were born in the United States. It seems obvious that these children were to a considerable extent subjected to conflicting cultures; for in 70 per cent of the cases one or both of their parents was foreign born while the boys themselves were born in the United States. In addition, 17 per cent of the boys were foreign born as were their parents, and they also had to undergo a cultural adaptation but of a somewhat different character; at least, in being transplanted from a foreign country to American soil they shared with their parents the difficulty involved in the adaptation. In only 13 per cent of the cases were both parents and boys born in this country.

What was the native land of these foreign-born parents? What national cultures did they bring into the stream of American life? In 40 per cent of the cases of foreign-born fathers, the country of origin was Italy; in 23 per cent, Russia, Poland, or Lithuania; in 16 per cent, Ireland; in 9 per cent, Canada. The remaining 12 per cent came from various other European countries. From the fact that so large a proportion of the parents were of Italian origin, it

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