October 25, 2013

A third of young Americans have been arrested

Via Keith Humphreys, being arrested is a very common experience for young people in America: using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Richard Braeme and colleagues found

By age 18, the in-sample cumulative arrest prevalence rate lies between 15.9% and 26.8%; at age 23, it lies between 25.3% and 41.4%. These bounds make no assumptions at all about missing cases. If we assume that the missing cases are at least as likely to have been arrested as the observed cases, the in-sample age-23 prevalence rate must lie between 30.2% and 41.4%. The greatest growth in the cumulative prevalence of arrest occurs during late adolescence and the period of early or emerging adulthood


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »


  • avatar
    megan pledger

    I’m really surprised at how high that is but I have read some/listened to some stuff recently that shows not all those arrests are for anything illegal…

    Under civil forfeiture laws US police can consificate goods if they have “probable cause” to think they have been acquired illegally. The money earned from that goes back to their police department.
    Here is a newspaper article on it – “The use and abuse of civil forfeiture”

    In an “This American Life Story”, a police officer is told to make false arrests if any one hassles him on the street. He refuses and gets in to all kinds of trouble.
    See Act 2 – Right to Remain Silent, This American Life

    Both are really, really interesting.

    4 years ago