First Advisor

John O'Brien

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Age distribution (Demography) -- United States, United States -- Social conditions, United States -- Population -- History



Physical Description

3, viii, 152 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The purpose of this study is to explain the consequences of a changing age structure on social change in the urban industrialized environment. This analysis determines the impact of the younger to the older labor force aged population on both negative and positive forms of social change behavior. The indices of social behavior to be examined are the deviant behaviors of homicide, suicide and certain innovative behavior associated with patent activity. The specific age composition of the population to be examined is the ratio of young male adults aged 15-34 to those aged 35-64. The analysis of main effects of the model is conducted, controlling for the effects of unemployment and urban growth. These control variables have traditionally been documented as being important factors associated with deviant forms of behavior. However, the more contemporary literature increasingly recognizes the relationship between age and the tendency to act out certain social change behaviors. Most of social change emphasizes "negative" deviant behaviors. This study incorporated two innovative measures related to patents in an attempt to measure "positive" forms of deviant behavior. This strategy is used to determine if positive behavior can be explained by the same independent variables used to account for negative behavior. A multiple linear regression model is used to analyze the hypothesis of the research model. The results show a significant relationship between the age composition of the population and the selected indices of social behavior. As expected, the traditional indices of negative deviant behavior are consistent with the findings of the model. The less traditional indices used to measure innovation also result in positive findings. However, the significance of these latter findings is more modest in comparison to those of the traditional measures of deviant behavior. The implications of this study are that when pressure for opportunity builds in the population due to a heavy proportion of young adults, the prevalence of both positive (innovative) and negative (destructive) behavior increases. These behaviors reflect the need within society to change and adapt to population requirements. These dynamics are heightened as our society becomes more urbanized under the circumstances. The task for social policy makers is how to encourage the positive innovative forms of social change.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier