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Racial and Ethnic Fairness
Youth arrest rates have declined for all race groups since the mid-1990s.
Note: Rates are arrests of persons ages 0-17 per 100,000 persons ages 10-17 in the resident population.

* The ratio of rates is created by dividing the rates for each racial or ethnic minority group by the white rate. A ratio of 1.0 indicates parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison group are equal. For example, if white youth and Black youth were arrested at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. A ratio greater than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial or ethnic minority group is greater than the rate for white youth. A ratio less than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial and ethnic minority group is less than the rate for white youth.

2020 was the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities. Additionally, stay-at-home orders likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior that came to the attention of law enforcement in 2020.

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  • Since 1995, the overall arrest rate declined most for Asian youth (92%), followed by white youth (85%), Black youth (84%), and American Indian youth (78%).
  • Despite these declines, the disparity in arrest rates between white youth and Black youth has increased in recent years. In 1995, for example, Black youth were 2.1 times more likely to be arrested than their white peers. In 2020, this ratio was 2.3.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/special_topics/qa11502.asp?qaDate=2020. Released on June 24, 2022.

Data Source: Arrest estimates for 1980-2014 developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and disseminated through the Arrest Data Analysis Tool.

Arrest estimates for 2015-2019 were revised by the National Center for Juvenile Justice in June 2022 based on the FBI’s annual Arrest Master Files of 12-month reporting departments available from the Crime Data Explorer (https://crime-data-explorer.fr.cloud.gov/pages/downloads, retrieved June 14, 2022). Estimates for 2020 are based on the FBI's 2020 Arrest Master File of 12-month reporting departments.


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