U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Highlights of the 2008 National Youth Gang Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2010
2 pages
Publication Series
This report presents highlights of the data and information obtained from the 2008 National Youth Gang Survey, which addresses the nationwide prevalence of youth gangs and trends in the number of gangs, gang members, and gang crimes.
The 2008 National Youth Gang Survey shows that gang activity remains a widespread problem across the United States, with prevalence rates remaining significantly elevated in 2008 compared with recorded low prevalence rates in the early 2000s. The National Gang Center estimates that 32.4 percent of all cities, suburban areas, towns, and rural counties experienced gang problems in 2008. This is a 15-percent increase from 2002. Approximately 774,000 gang members and 27,900 gangs are estimated to have been active in the United States in 2008. Changes from 2007 to 2008 are relatively small; however, increases in gangs and gang members were recorded for cities with populations of more than 250,000; these cities continue to be the predominant location of gangs and gang members. Rural counties, on the other hand, reported declines of approximately 20 percent in the number of gangs and gang members from 2007 to 2008. Among respondents who reported gang activity in 2008, 44 percent indicated an increase in gang-related aggravated assaults; 41 percent reported an increase in drug sales; and 41 percent reported an increase in firearms use compared with the previous year. Nearly one in five agencies in larger cities reported an increase in gang-related homicides in 2008. Among agencies that reported a gang problem in 2008, 45 percent described their gang problem as "getting worse," a 5-percent decline from the previous year. Less than 1 in 10 respondents reported their gang problem as "getting better." 1 table and 1 figure

Date Published: March 1, 2010