U.S.: Prisoner Distribution, by sex and age
Age bracketMale,
in %
in %
65 or older4.52.2
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 2022
  • Published: Nov 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 15, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Age Distribution Shows Clear Trends

Prisoners aged 30-34 hold the highest percentage among both males (16.1%) and females (19.3%) , revealing a peak in incarceration rates in this age bracket. A significant trend emerges when observing the distribution across different age groups, with percentages gradually increasing from the 18-19 age group, reaching a peak in the 30-34 age range, and then consistently decreasing with age.

Gender Differences in Incarceration Rates

While both genders show a similar pattern in the age distribution, females tend to have a slightly higher percentage in incarceration rates in the age groups from 25-29 to 40-44, compared to their male counterparts. The most notable difference appears in the 30-34 age bracket, where the percentage of females (19.3%) surpasses that of males (16.1%) by a considerable margin.

Youth and Elderly Incarceration Rates

The data indicates that the youngest (18-19) and oldest (65 or older) age brackets represent the lowest incarceration rates among both genders, with 0.4% for males and 0.2% for females in the 18-19 age group, and 4.5% for males and 2.2% for females in the 65 or older category. These figures highlight a significantly lower propensity for incarceration among the very young and the elderly.

Majority of Prisoners Are in Mid-Life

Analyzing the data across all age brackets, the majority of prisoners fall within the 25-44 age range, accounting for 58.5% of the male and 66.6% of the female prison population. This concentration of ages signifies that the prime years of adulthood are the most common for incarceration, with a marked decrease in percentages before and after this age range.

Decreasing Trend in Older Age Groups

For both genders, there is a noticeable trend of decreasing incarceration rates as age increases beyond the mid-life peak. For instance, males aged 50-54 have an incarceration rate of 8.6%, which gradually diminishes to 4.5% for those 65 or older. Similarly, females show a decrease from 7.5% in the 50-54 age group to 2.2% for 65 or older. This decreasing trend underscores a lower likelihood of incarceration with advancing age.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which age group holds the highest percentage of prisoners for both genders?

The 30-34 age group holds the highest percentage of prisoners for both males (16.1 %) and females (19.3 %) .

In which age bracket do females show notably higher incarceration rates than males?

Females show notably higher incarceration rates than males in the 30-34 age bracket, with 19.3% versus 16.1% respectively.

What is the representation of the youngest and oldest age brackets in incarceration rates?

The 18-19 age bracket represents only 0.4% of males and 0.2% of females, whereas the 65 or older category holds 4.5% of males and 2.2% of females.

Which age range represents the majority of prisoners?

The 25-44 age range represents the majority of prisoners, accounting for 58.5% of the male and 66.6% of the female prison population.

Terms and Definitions

Prisoner distribution refers to the way in which prisoners are allocated or spread out across various categories or locations. In this context, the distribution is based on sex and age, indicating the proportion or number of incarcerated individuals under specific age groups and gender.

Federal prisons are correctional facilities administered by the federal government. They generally house inmates who have been charged with federal crimes, which are offenses that violate U.S. federal laws, as opposed to local or state laws.

State prisons are correctional facilities under the jurisdiction of a specific state. They typically house prisoners who have violated state laws. The type of offenses can range from petty crimes to serious criminal acts, depending on the state's laws.

An inmate is an individual who is held in a prison, jail, or other correctional facility. This term usually refers to a person serving time for criminal offenses.

Incarceration rate is the number of people in prison or detention, per unit (often per 100,000) of the population. It is often used as an indicator of the level of crime and the effectiveness of the justice system in a given jurisdiction.

A juvenile detention center is a facility where minors, usually known as juveniles, are held temporarily or for longer periods. These centers are reserved for individuals who are under the age of 18 and are awaiting trial or sentencing.

An adult corrections facility, generally referred to as a prison or jail, is a place where individuals aged 18 or above, who have been convicted of a crime, are incarcerated. These facilities are designed to rehabilitate, punish, and deter adults who have committed criminal offenses.
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