For the purposes of the survey, a "youth gang" was defined as "a group of youths in (the respondent's) jurisdiction that (the respondent) or other responsible persons in (the respondent's) agency are willing to identify or classify as a 'gang.' " Survey findings indicate that the youth gang problem in this country is substantial and affects communities of all sizes. Almost three-fourths of cities surveyed with populations of more than 25,000 reported youth gangs in 1996. A majority of suburban counties had gangs, as did a significant percentage of small cities and rural counties. Demographic characteristics of gang members appear to be changing. Although Hispanics and African-Americans continued to compose the majority of U.S. gang members, almost one-third of gang members in small cities and rural counties were Caucasian. Gang members were involved in a significant amount of crime, but the degree of involvement and type of crime varied by type of locality. Law enforcement agencies responding to the survey served cities with populations of more than 25,000, suburban-county police and sheriffs' departments, agencies serving cities with populations between 2,500 and 25,000, and a representative sample of rural-county police agencies.