Population

Global

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

This report presents selected findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ annual data collection on capital punishment. It includes statistics on the number of prisoners executed each year from 1977 through 2017, the number and race of prisoners under sentence of death at year-end 2017 by state, and the average elapsed time from sentence to execution by year from 1977 through 2017. BJS obtained data on prisoners under sentence of death from the department of corrections in each jurisdiction that authorized the death penalty as of December 31, 2017. The status of the death penalty was obtained from the office of the attorney general in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government.

What will America look like in 2030?

We can already see that the population is aging and becoming more diverse, but how will those trends play out at the local and regional levels? And what if, in the future, we live longer or have more babies? How would those trends affect the population in different cities and states?

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. From fiscal year (FY) 2015 to FY 2016, federal arrests decreased by 1%, from 153,478 arrests to 151,460 (figure 1). 1 The number of defendants sentenced to federal prison decreased by 3%, from 56,018 in FY 2015 to 54,274 in FY 2016.

The United Nations, Department of Economic and Social AffairsPopulation Dynamics offers interactive maps illustrating: population growth rate, total fertility rate, adolescent birth rate, under five mortality, adult mortality both sexes, life expectancy both sexes, life expectancy at age 65 both sexes, percent population 65 and older and potential support ratio.

An estimated 6,613,500 persons were under the supervision of U.S. adult correctional systems on December 31, 2016 (figure 1). The adult correctional population consists of persons held in prisons and jails and persons on probation and parole. The correctional population decreased 0.9% from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016. From 2007 to 2016, the correctional population declined by an average of 1.2% annually, ranging from a decrease of 0.4% in 2008 to 2.1% in 2010. At year-end 2016, about 1 in 38 persons in the United States were under correctional supervision. This report summarizes data from several Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collections on populations supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States. (See Methodology.) 

The Global Peace Index 2019 report finds that the average level of global peacefulness improved very slightly in the 2019 GPI. This is the first time the index has improved in five years. The average country score improved by -0.09 per cent, with 86 countries improving, and 76 recording deteriorations. The 2019 GPI reveals a world in which the conflicts and crises that emerged in the past decade have begun to abate, but new tensions within and between nations have emerged.

This report highlights trends in federal arrests and prosecutions by the country of citizenship of persons processed through the federal criminal justice system. It shows changes from 1998 through 2018. The report provides statistics on law enforcement and prosecutions along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as in non-border areas. It shows the number of suspects arrested and prosecuted for both immigration and non-immigration offenses, including by their citizenship status. It details activities for all 94 federal judicial districts, while also separately detailing activities for the 5 districts along the U.S.-Mexico border. (See map on page 6.) The statistical findings in this report are based on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Federal Justice Statistics Program (FJSP).

The World Prison Brief is an online database providing free access to information on prison systems around the world. It is a unique resource, which supports evidence-based development of prison policy and practice globally.

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. As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build, however, it’s more important than ever that we get the facts straight and understand the big picture.

The chart illustrates how world population has changed throughout history. View the full tabulated data.

At the dawn of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was approximately 5 million. Over the 8,000-year period up to 1 A.D. it grew to 200 million (some estimate 300 million or even 600, suggesting how imprecise population estimates of early historical periods can be), with a growth rate of under 0.05% per year.

On any given day, over 48,000 youth in the United States are confined in facilities away from home as a result of juvenile justice or criminal justice involvement. Most are held in restrictive, correctional-style facilities, and thousands are held without even having had a trial. But even these high figures represent astonishing progress: Since 2000, the number of youth in confinement has fallen by 60%, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

What explains these remarkable changes? How are the juvenile justice and adult criminal justice systems different, and how are they similar? Perhaps most importantly, can those working to reduce the number of adults behind bars learn any lessons from the progress made in reducing youth confinement?

For the first time in modern history, the world’s population is expected to virtually stop growing by the end of this century, due in large part to falling global fertility rates, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the United Nations.

By yearend 2017, 1.4 million people were imprisoned in the United States, a decline of 7% since the prison population reached its peak level in 2009. This follows a nearly 700% growth in the prison population between 1972 and 2009.

The overall pace of decarceration has varied considerably across states, but has been modest overall. Thirty-nine states and the federal government had downsized their prisons by 2017. Five states—Alaska, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York—reduced their prison populations by over 30% since reaching their peak levels. But among the 39 states that reduced levels of imprisonment, 14 states downsized their prisons by less than 5%. Eleven states, led by Arkansas, had their highest ever prison populations in 2017.

American prison populations have long been characterized by racial and ethnic disparities. U.S. Census Bureau data on incarcerated persons from 1870 through 1980 show that black incarceration rates ranged from three to nine times those of whites, depending upon the decade and region of the country. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports over the past 40 years, black imprisonment rates ranged from about six to about eight times those of whites.

Recent research from The Pew Charitable Trusts found that about 4.5 million people in the United States are on community supervision as of 2016. Probation and parole provide a measure of accountability while allowing those who would otherwise have been incarcerated or have already served a term behind bars to meet their obligations to their families, communities, and victims.

Early research on the effects of prison concluded that prisoner rehabilitation programmes do not work (Martinson 1974). This research was influential in rehabilitation gradually taking a back seat in favour of prison policies emphasising punishment and incapacitation. Subsequent scholars questioned the evidence base for this conclusion (Cullen 2005), but as Nagin et at. (2009) summarise, “Remarkably little is known about the effects of imprisonment on reoffending. The existing research is limited in size, in quality, [and] in its insights into why a prison term might be criminogenic or preventative.”

This information sheet offers a number of quick facts about Native American offenders in the United States.

This information sheet offers a number of quick facts about Illegal Reentry offenders in the United States.

Researchers from the Vera Institute of Justice, with support from Google.org Fellows, collected data on the number of people in local jails at midyear in both 2018 and 2019 to provide timely information on how incarceration is changing in the United States. This report fills a gap until the Bureau of Justice Statistics releases its report on jail population statistics in 2019—likely in early 2021. Vera researchers estimated the national jail population and jail incarceration rate using a sample of 861 jail jurisdictions. The results are broken down by jurisdiction type and across years, showing diverging trends between urban, suburban, small/midsized metropolitan, and rural areas.

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.

County and city jails in the United States held 738,400 inmates at midyear 2018 (table 1), a decline of 6% from 785,500 inmates held in 2008. The midyear population remained relatively stable from 2011 to 2018. At midyear 2018, about one-third of jail inmates (248,500) were sentenced or awaiting sentencing on a conviction, while about two-thirds (490,000) were awaiting court action on a current charge or were held for other reasons. Over the 10-year period from 2008 to 2018, the rate of incarceration in local jails dropped by 12%, from 258 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents to 226 per 100,000 (fgure 1). During this period, the jail incarceration rate increased by 12% for whites and declined by about 30% for blacks (28%) and Hispanics (33%).

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

Value Notes

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

From the end of 2017 to the end of 2018, the total prison population in the United States declined from 1,489,200 to 1,465,200, a decrease of 24,000 prisoners. Tis was a 1.6% decline in the prison population and marked the fourth consecutive annual decrease of at least 1%. Te combined federal and state imprisonment rate, based on sentenced prisoners (those sentenced to more than one year), fell 2.4% from 2017 to 2018, declining from 441 to 431 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents. Across a decade, the imprisonment rate—the proportion of U.S. residents who are in prison—fell 15%, from 506 sentenced prisoners in 2008 to 431 in 2018 per 100,000 U.S. residents (fgure 1).

Over the course of the nation’s history, there has been a slow but steady decrease in the size of the average U.S. household—from 5.79 people per household in 1790 to 2.58 in 2010. But this decade will likely be the first since the one that began in 1850 to break this long-running trend, according to newly released Census Bureau data. In 2018 there were 2.63 people per household.

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 (figure 1 and table 1).* 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 (figure 2). The parole population continued to grow, increasing by 0.5%, from 870,500 persons at year-end 2015

Cities with fewer than 200,000 residents grew faster than larger metropolises between 2017 and 2018 as high housing prices chased many people away from big cities and their closest suburbs.

The biggest cities grew by a collective 326,000 people, less than half the number earlier in the decade, and less than the number for smaller cities — 421,000 for cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.

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 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.

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.

  • 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.