America's high incarceration rate: One in every 100 adults in the US is behind bars, says report
While the United States has only five percent of the world’s population, as high as 20 percent of the globe’s incarcerated people also live there. But what percentage of America’s population is actually behind bars?
According to a report in Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) that came out earlier in January, about 0.7 percent of the US population is currently staying in a federal or state prison or local jail. In terms of numbers, the US now has 698 people incarcerated per 100,000. The PPI report, which has been co-authored by PPI’s Executive Director Peter Wagner, said the figure of 0.7 percent could look like a small one and suggested that it should be seen more in the context of specific groups.
“In some ways, though, looking at the portion of a country that is incarcerated understates the sheer size of mass incarceration, because the denominator includes many groups that are infrequently incarcerated. For example, no toddlers, few adolescents, and not very many teenagers are incarcerated,” it said.
In terms of adults, 0.88% are incarcerated
“Rather than calculating how many people in the U.S. are incarcerated, you could calculate how many adults are incarcerated (0.88%), or how many working-age adults are incarcerated (1.07%),” the report said, though adding that though such statistics are rhetorically useful, they are not used often since it gets difficult to find compatible data from other countries.
In terms of totality, the US is home to 2.1 million incarcerated people which is half a million more than the next rank-holder China. Brazil is third with 747,000 incarcerated people and is followed by Russia and India with 527,000 and 451,000 incarcerated people, respectively, the PPI cited souces. Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Philippines, Mexico, South Africa and others follow. As many as 194 countries account for only 20 percent of the world's total incarcerated population.