According to the FBI some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. and Puerto Rico today.
The National Gang Center has the most comprehensive studies and statistics on gangs. To find out the extent of gang problems and the estimated number of gangs, CLICK HERE.
Gang Activity and Violence
Although gang activity in the U.S. showed a decline in the mid 1990’s to 2000, it increased from 2001 to 2005 and has since remained constant. Over the past decade, annual estimates of the number of gangs have averaged about 25,000 nationally and the number of gang members has been about 750,000.
- In 2009, larger cities and suburban counties accounted for the majority of gang-related violence and more than 96 percent of all gang homicides.
- During 2009-2012, cities with 100,000 or more persons saw gang-related homicides increase by 13 percent.
- In Chicago and Los Angeles, nearly half of all homicides were attributed to gang violence from 2009-2012.
Demographic Characteristics of Gang Members
- Between 1998 and 2009, gang members were overwhelmingly male with less than ten percent of total gang members being female. Learn more about the involvement of girls in gangs and juvenile delinquency.
- While the majority of gang members are adults, as of 2008, two out every five gang members are under 18, as reported by law enforcement.
- The prevalence of youth under 18 in gangs is higher in smaller cities and rural communities where gang problems are less established, compared to larger cities.
- Between 1996 and 2008, gang members were more likely to be Hispanic/Latino and African-American/black than other race/ethnicities. Specifically they reported gang members were 50 percent Hispanic or Latino.
- FBI / Gangs: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/gangs
- The National Gang Center
- Youth.Gov / Federal Data: https://youth.gov/youth-topics/preventing-gang-involvement/federal-data