Imprisonment Rates In the US By Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

"There were 419 sentenced state or federal prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents of all ages at year-end 2019, a decrease from 432 per 100,000 at year-end 2018 (table 5). The federal imprisonment rate in 2019 was 48 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents, and the state rate was 371 per 100,000. The total imprisonment rate in 2019 (419 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents) was the lowest since 1995. (See appendix table 1.) Since peaking at 506 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents in both 2007 and 2008, the total imprisonment rate has fallen 17%.

"The imprisonment rate has fallen for 11 consecutive years. Imprisonment rates have declined each year since 2006 for whites and blacks (13 consecutive years) and each year since 2007 for Hispanics (12 consecutive years) (not shown in tables). They have declined each year since 2008 for males (11 consecutive years).

"Among U.S. residents age 18 or older, there were 539 sentenced prisoners in state or federal prison per 100,000 adult U.S. residents as of December 31, 2019, a 3% decline from 2018 (556 per 100,000) (table 6). The federal imprisonment rate for adults declined 4% from 2018 to 2019 (from 64 to 62 prisoners per 100,000 adult residents), while the state imprisonment rate for adults decreased 3% from 2018 to 2019 (from 491 to 477 per 100,000). About 1% of adult males living in the U.S. were serving a prison sentence of more than one year in 2019 (1,025 per 100,000 male U.S. residents age 18 or older). At year-end 2019, the imprisonment rate for adult females was 77 per 100,000 female U.S. residents age 18 or older, which was 8% as high as the imprisonment rate for adult males.

"At year-end 2019, more than 1% of black adults were serving a sentence in state or federal prisons (1,446 per 100,000 black adult U.S. residents), a 4% decline from year-end 2018 (1,501 per 100,000). The imprisonment rate of black adults at year-end 2019 was more than five times that of white adults (263 per 100,000 white adult U.S. residents) and almost twice the rate of Hispanic adults (757 per 100,000 Hispanic adult U.S. residents). From 2018 to 2019, the imprisonment rate declined 5% for Hispanic adults (from 796 to 757 per 100,000) and 2% for white adults (from 268 to 263 per 100,000).

"The imprisonment rate of black adults decreased 32% from 2009 to 2019, while the imprisonment rate of Hispanic adults declined 29% and the imprisonment rate for white adults decreased 15%.

"Imprisonment rates for white and black adults have declined for 13 consecutive years, while rates for adult Hispanics have declined for 12 consecutive years. The year 2019 marked the fourth decrease in a row for the adult female imprisonment rate and the twelfth for adult males. The rate of sentenced state prisoners has declined each year since 2007 (12 consecutive years), and the rate of sentenced federal prisoners has decreased 8 years in a row."


E. Ann Carson, PhD. Prisoners In 2019. Washington, DC: US Dept of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2020, NCJ255155.