U.S. Historical Prisoner Statistics

National prisoner estimates from 1850, including prisoners in jails and in state and federal prisons, and distinguishing by sex where possible.

Sentenced Prisoners in U.S. Jails in 1922

Despite some contrary evidence and estimates, the best reading of the fragmentary data implies a time-series estimate of 65% sentenced prisoners.

US Jail Inmate Population Data

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Annual Survey of Jails provides data on jail populations annually from 1982, with some missing years.

Unsentenced Prisoners in US Censuses

The censuses of 1900 to 1930 did not included unsentenced prisoners in reporting on prisoners. Enumerators did, however, count unsentenced prisoners.

Punishment Prevalence Yearly by Sex in the U.S. from 1850

Prisoners and executions yearly by sex in the United States from 1850, aggregated to punishment per 100,000 of population (punishment prevalence), with sex ratio of punishment and punishment distribution (% absent from execution and % absent from being in prison).

Executions Yearly by Sex in America from 1608

Executions yearly by sex in the North American colonies and the United States from 1608 to 2010. Includes individual case data and comparison of yearly totals from official and scholarly sources.

Lynchings Yearly by Sex in the U.S. from 1882

Extrajudicial mob executions (lynchings) of persons, counted by sex and by year of lynching, in US from 1882. Subset of individual lynching instances, with state, date, county, victim race, victim name, mob race, and offense.

Prisoners in the U.S. in the 19th-century

Prisoner totals by sex, estimated mainly from prisoner statistics in the decennial censuses. Includes prisoners in jails and houses of correction. Counts of prisoners in individual state prisons, mid-19th century.

Prisoners in the U.S. from 1850

Prisoners (including jail inmates), prisoners per 100,000 population (imprisonment prevalence), and prisoner sex ratio in U.S., 1850-2010 (sex ratio from 1880). Based mainly on national census data, adjusted to consistently included unsentenced prisoners.

Prisoners by State and Sex, U.S. 1880-2010

Panel data of prisoner counts by state, sex, and jurisdiction from decennial national censuses (from 1880) and yearly Bureau of Justice Statistics prisoner series (from 1977). With summary statistics for sex-ratio distributions across states.

Prisoners in the U.S. from 1900

Prisoners (including jail inmates) by sex in the U.S. from 1900, from decennial census prisoner data, adjusted for comparability, with additional Bureau of Justice Statistics yearly prisoner counts. Dataset sheets: summary: national prisoner totals (including jail inmates) by sex for decennial census years, with calculated sex ratios sex-race 2006: prisoners (including jail inmates) by sex […]

Prisoners in U.S. State and Federal Prisons, 1940

Prisoners by sex and by state, reconciled across national Census of 1940 and Bureau of Justice Statistics’ annual series of prisoners in state and federal prisons. Consistent treatment of juvenile delinquents makes the figures comparable.

U.S. Historical Population Statistics from 1790

Population yearly and by sex from 1820; population by state 1790-2010; summary data from national population censuses, 1790-2010; population by age, race, and sex from 1950. Dataset sheets: yearly: total population yearly, 1820-2010 by sex: population by sex from 1820, yearly from 1900 by state {various sheets}: population by state 1790-2010 national censuses: total population […]