Sunday, February 14, 2010

Race, ethnicity, and jail

Participants in the Midlife Development in the United States Study (2004-06) were asked if they were ever in jail (N = 2,167). I calculated the percentages by ethnic background:

Black 11.9
Amerindian 11.4
Hispanic 10.0
Irish 7.5
Russian 5.9
German 5.4
Polish 5.2
English 4.9
French 4.5
Italian 4.2
Jewish 3.3
Norwegian 2.5
Swedish 2.5
Scottish 2.3

GSS data indicates more Italian arrests, but the ranking is otherwise similar--NAMs on top, and Jews and Scandinavians on the bottom. The gap is wide: 5 times as many blacks as Americans of Scottish descent report having been in jail.


  1. I found the Irish-Scottish gap interesting.

  2. Paladin12:53 PM

    I would assume its safe to say that the Scots-Irish are self-identifying as Irish and not Scottish. Would it be possible to see where Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants would rank if taken as two different groups?


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