Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


This research was an attempt to study social ecological theory through the analysis of violent crime rates in Minnesota and Wisconsin from 1989-1991. Social ecologists look at overcrowding, community deterioration, and unemployment as an explanation for social disorganization. This study employed a correlational research design utilizing secondary data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of the social ecological variables were found to be strongly associated with violent crime rates. A multiple regression analysis was used to determine which variables are the most important in predicting variations in crime rates. This study supported the use of social ecological theory to explain crime rates. Specifically, the percent white, the percent of children not living with both parents, and the persons per square mile were the most significant variables used to explain the variation in crime rates.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Violent crimes -- Minnesota Violent crimes -- Wisconsin Social ecology



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University