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I know the first part means that "no ethnic is inherently easier to form a gang than another ethnic, but being marginalized makes some ethnic groups have more gangs". I also know "account for" might be "to constitute the governing or primary factor in". But I don't know what the this in boldface refer to, and be account for what here? What does "be accounted for" mean?

No ethnic group is more disposed to gang involvement than another, rather it is the status of being marginalized, alienated or rejected that makes some groups more vulnerable to gang formation, and this would also be accounted for in the effect of social exclusion, especially in terms of recruitment and retention.

-- Wikipedia: Organized_crime

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"Be accounted for" means "taken into consideration" in this context. See the last usage given in this definition.

So the sentence refers to taking into consideration the factors mentioned before.

Specifically, "this" (which is difficult in such a long-winded sentence) is referring to "the fact of being marginalized (...) makes some groups more vulnerable to gang formation".

In other words:

It's not your ethnicity that means you are more likely to become a gang member. It's whether you are marginalized, alienated or rejected. All of this has been taken into consideration, and is considered an effect of social exclusion.

  • Could you please be some specific about “the last usage given in this definition”? I cannot find this meaning there. Are you referring to “to take into account”? If so, it seems to be a different expression than “be accounted for.” – Ivan Oct 29 '17 at 18:19
  • That is the meaning I'm referring to. In the case in question, "be accounted for" and "take into consideration" are synonymous. In a wider sense "be accounted for" might mean A) being the primary factor in, or b) having an explanation/justification. E.g. "The wet weather accounted for the rise in umbrella sales" (meaning A) or "The suspect couldn't account for his prints being at the scene of the crime" (meaning B). – JMB Oct 30 '17 at 11:54
  • My point was that this reference doesn’t work as it doesn’t show that to be accounted for means to be taken into consideration. What it shows is that to take into account means to take into consideration. Please have a look at this question as well. – Ivan Oct 30 '17 at 11:59
  • I see your point. I'm struggling to find dictionaries that use "take into consideration" as a use of "account for". Annoying as I can only speak from my gut sense of the phrase. – JMB Oct 30 '17 at 17:56

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