Posted on December 21, 2011

30% of Americans Arrested by Age 23, Study Finds

Seattle Times, December 19, 2011

About 30 percent of Americans by age 23 have been arrested at least once for something other than a traffic violation, increasing their chances of professional and family strife, researchers say.

By age 18, about 16 percent to 27 percent of teenagers have been arrested at least once, according to a study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Youths with arrest records have lower earnings, longer periods of unemployment and a greater risk of family conflict than those without, according to the study. The previous best estimate of arrests for nontraffic offenses, done in 1965, showed that about 22 percent of U.S. adults had been apprehended at least once by age 23.


The study did not look at racial or regional differences, but other research has found higher arrest rates for black men and for youths living in poor urban areas.


The study analyzed data collected as part of the federal government’s National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The 7,335 participants were nationally representative and ranged in age from 12 to 16 when they were enrolled in the survey in 1996.

The first interviews were conducted in 1997. The surveys continued through 2008 asking a variety of questions about participants’ activities including whether they’d been arrested by police. {snip}