Educational Characteristics of the Incarcerated: Data from the ACS

Stephanie Ewert, U.S. Census Bureau
Tara Wildhagen, U.S. Census Bureau

Growth in the prison population has focused attention on the educational characteristics of incarcerated adults. This study brings new and current data to bear on the educational characteristics of prisoners using the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) by examining the attainment and enrollment of adult prisoners and comparing them to the general household population and an economically disadvantaged segment of the household population that may be at risk of incarceration. We find that prisoners have lower levels of educational attainment than the general household population as well as the economically disadvantaged household population. Although fewer incarcerated adults were enrolled than in the general population, results varied by age. Young inmates were less likely to be enrolled than young adults in the general population but older inmates were more likely to be enrolled than their counterparts in the general population.

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Presented in Session 142: The Demographic Effects of Racial and Ethnic Differences in Incarceration Rates