Back in 1999, Mr. Levitt was trying to figure out why crime rates had fallen so dramatically in the previous decade. He was struck by the fact that crime began falling nationwide just 18 years after the Supreme Court effectively legalized abortion. He was struck harder by the fact that in five states crime began falling three years earlier than it did everywhere else. These were exactly the five states that had legalized abortion three years before Roe v. Wade.
Did crime fall because hundreds of thousands of prospective criminals had been aborted? Once again, the pattern by itself is not conclusive, but once again Mr. Levitt piles pattern on pattern until the evidence overwhelms you. The bottom line? Legalized abortion was the single biggest factor in bringing the crime wave of the 1980s to a screeching halt.
Since the popular belief is that crime and poverty is link, i wonder what is the demographic of the women having abortions are with respect to their socialeconomic status. Does having an unwanted baby increases socialeconomic pressure leading to crime? It cannot be the unwanted baby commiting crime as the reduction in crime occurred within 3 years.
Or is it a society willing to allow abortion is also one more accessible and successful in channeling the would-be criminals into acceptable socialeconomic paths. But this also seem less likely due to the crime rate dropping after legalization of abortion.
Much more thought is needed to discern whether this phenomena is true-true and causative or true-true and unrelated.