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Countries with the most prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants, as of June 2020

As of June 2020, the United States had the highest prisoner rate, with 655 prisoners per 100,000 of the national population. El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Thailand, and Palau rounded out the top five countries with the highest rate of incarceration.

Prisoners in the United States

As the statistic above illustrates, the United States has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world. With 655 inmates per 100,000 of population, the U.S. is by far the leader among large industrialized nations in incarceration.

Not only is the U.S. among the leading countries worldwide in incarcerations per 100,000 of the population, but it was also home to the largest total number of prisoners in 2020.

Roughly 2.12 million people were incarcerated in the United States in 2020. China’s estimated prison population totaled to 1.71 million people that year. Other nations with population sizes comparable to the United States have far fewer prisoners.

A significant portion of U.S. prisoners in federal correctional facilities were of black or African-American origin. As of 2016, there were almost 420,000 black, non-Hispanic prisoners. They made up 38 percent of all incarcerated persons in the U.S, but accounted for only 12 percent of the total U.S. population.

About 190,000 prisoners in state facilities were sentenced for drug-related offenses, accounting for roughly 14.8 percent of all state prisoners in the U.S. Drug-related offenses, such as trafficking and possession, were the most common cause of imprisonment in state prisons. Second most common were felonies, such as murder and robbery, at 14.2 and 13.2 percent respectively.

Countries with the largest number of prisoners per 100,000 of the national population, as of June 2020

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Release date

June 2020



Survey time period

as of June 15, 2020

Supplementary notes

The source does not provide a release date. The date given here is the date of access.

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Statistics on "Prisoners in the United States"

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