Population Demographics

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.) 

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.

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.

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

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).

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%).

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.)