Population

Population demographics trends that provide information and resources globally, domestically, and within the field of corrections.

With growing public attention to the problem of mass incarceration, people want to know about women’s experience with incarceration. How many women are held in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in the United States? And why are they there? How is their experience different from men’s? While these are important questions, finding those answers requires not only disentangling the country’s decentralized and overlapping criminal justice systems, but also unearthing the frustratingly hard to find and often altogether missing data on gender.

Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs? These questions are harder to answer than you might think, because our country’s systems of confinement are so fragmented. The various government agencies involved in the justice system collect a lot of critical data, but it is not designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on. Meaningful criminal justice reform that reduces the massive scale of incarceration, however, requires that we start with the big picture.

An estimated 4,537,100 adults were under community supervision as of December 31, 2016 (year-end), a decline of 1.1% from 4,586,900 on January 1, 2016. An estimated one in 55 adults in the United States were under community supervision at year-end 2016. Persons on probation accounted for the majority (81%) of adults under community supervision.

The decline observed in the adult community corrections population in 2016 was the result of a decrease in the probation population. The probation population declined 1.4%, from an estimated 3,725,600 offenders on January 1, 2016, to 3,673,100 at year-end 2016. The parole population continued to grow, increasing by 0.5%, from 870,500 persons at year-end 2015 to 874,800 at year-end 2016.

County and city jails in the United States reported a total confned population of 745,200 inmates at midyear 2017. About 65% (482,000) of the confned inmates were awaiting court action on a current charge. The remaining 35% (263,200) were sentenced or convicted ofenders awaiting sentencing. The jail incarceration rate at midyear 2017 was 229 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, down from 259 per 100,000 at midyear 2007 and 237 per 100,000 at midyear 2012.

The United States prison population declined from 1,508,129 at the end of 2016 to 1,489,363 at the end of 2017, a decrease of 1.2%. During the same period, the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of federal correctional authorities decreased by 6,100 (down 3%), and the number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state correctional authorities fell by 12,600 (down 1%). The imprisonment rate for sentenced prisoners was the lowest since 1997, at 440 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents of all ages and 568 per 100,000 U.S. residents age 18 or older. (Counts of sentenced prisoners include those who have received a sentence of more than one year.)

This report includes data on persons under sentence of death, persons executed, and the status of the death penalty at the state and federal level. Data on prisoners under sentence of death were obtained from the department of corrections in each jurisdiction that authorized the death penalty on December 31, 2016. Information on the status of death penalty statutes was obtained from the office of the Attorney General in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government.

This report describes persons processed by the federal criminal justice system. Data are from the Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP). The FJSP collects, standardizes, and reports on administrative data received from six federal justice agencies: the U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, U.S. Sentencing Commission, and Federal Bureau of Prisons.

About the Population Clock and Population Estimates

U.S. Population

The U.S. population clock is based on a series of short-term projections for the resident population of the United States. This includes people whose usual residence is in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These projections do not include members of the Armed Forces overseas, their dependents, or other U.S. citizens residing outside the United States.

The projections are based on a monthly series of population estimates starting with the April 1, 2010 resident population from the 2010 Census.

QuickFacts provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more.

About datasets used in this table

Value Notes

    Estimates are not comparable to other geographic levels due to methodology differences that may exist between different data sources.

    Some estimates presented here come from sample data, and thus have sampling errors that may render some apparent differences between geographies statistically indistinguishable. Click the Quick Info icon to the left of each row in TABLE view to learn about sampling error.

    The estimates are based on the 2010 Census and reflect changes to the April 1, 2010 population due to the Count Question Resolution program and geographic program revisions. See Geographic Terms and Definitions at http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/popest/guidance-geographies/terms-and-definitions.html for a list of the states that are included in each region and division. All geographic boundaries for the 2018 population estimates series except statistical area delineations are as of January 1, 2018.

    • Millennials are projected to outnumber Baby Boomers next year.
    • A record number of Americans live in multigenerational households, part of a broader trend toward more shared living.
    • The institution of marriage continues to change.
    •  After decades of decline, motherhood and family size are ticking up in the U.S.
    • There are more than 250 million migrants worldwide.
    • New refugee arrivals are down in the U.S. and their religious composition has changed.
    • International arrivals to the U.S. have risen among some groups.
    • The population of 26 countries, nearly all in Africa, will at least double. Niger in West Africa will see its population nearly triple.
    • A total of 38 countries will have smaller populations in 2050 than in 2018. China will register the largest numerical population decrease―about 50 million―followed by Japan at 25 million and Russia at 9.4 million. Romania will see the largest percentage decline in population (23 percent).
    • The population of the United States will reach 390 million, up from 328 million in 2018.

    Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations data set launched today.