People In Jails In The US, By Gender, Race, And Ethnicity

City and county jails in the US held 738,400 people at on June 29, 2018. ("Rates are based on the number of inmates held on the last weekday in June.")

Demographics on that date are as follows:
623,400 male, 115,100 female.
Juveniles: 3,700 held as adults, 600 held as juveniles.
Racial demographics were as follows:
White: 368,500
Black: 242,300
Latinx: 109,300
American Indian/Alaska native: 9,700
Asian/native Hawaiian/other Pacific islander: 4,800
"Other," including two or more races: 2,100

Only 248,500 people confined to a local jail had been convicted of any crimes and had either already been sentenced or were awaiting sentencing. The remaining 490,000 people confined to local jails were unconvicted and awaiting court action on a current charge.

"An estimated 226 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents were incarcerated nationwide at midyear 2018. Blacks were jailed at a rate of 592 per 100,000 black U.S. residents (table 2). American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) had a jail incarceration rate of 401 per 100,000 AIAN U.S. residents. Whites (187 per 100,000 white U.S. residents) and Hispanics (182 per 100,000 Hispanic U.S. residents) were jailed at similar rates.

"During the past decade, the jail incarceration rate increased for whites and declined for blacks and Hispanics. From 2008 to 2018, the rate grew from 167 to 187 per 100,000 for whites (up 12%), fell from 825 to 592 per 100,000 for blacks (down 28%), and fell from 274 to 182 per 100,000 for Hispanics (down 34%).
In 2018, blacks were jailed at their lowest rate since 1990. (See appendix table 2.)

"The male incarceration rate fell 14% between 2005 and 2018, from 448 to 387 male inmates per 100,000 male U.S. residents. During that period, the rate for females grew 10%, from 63 to 69 female inmates per 100,000 female U.S. residents.

"The black jail population dropped by 21% from 2008 to 2018

"From 2008 to 2018, the total jail population declined by 6% (47,100 inmates) (table 3). This was largely due to a 21% decrease in black inmates, which was partially offset by an 11% increase in white inmates. During this period, the overall Hispanic population (up 23%) and Asian population (up 40%) in the U.S. grew, while the number of Hispanic jail inmates decreased by 15% and the number of Asian jail inmates stayed about the same. (See appendix table 1 for population figures.)"


Zhen Zeng, PhD. Jail Inmates in 2018. Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Dept. of Justice. March 2020. NCJ253044.