The racial and ethnic makeup of U.S. prisons are considerably different from the demographics of the country as a whole. In 2017, Blacks represented 12% of the U.S. adult population, but 33% of the sentenced prison population. Whites accounted for 64% of adults, but 30% of prisoners. Latinos represented 16% of the adult population and accounted for 23% of inmates.
However, the racial gap of incarcerations has closed substantially. Since 2010, when Black male incarcerations per 100,000 were eight times that for White males, that gap shrank to roughly 6:1 by 2019. With females, the change has been staggering. In 1999, Black female incarcerations per 100,000 were eight times that for White females. Since then, Black female incarcerations dropped by 63%, while White female incarcerations continued to climb. By 2019 White female incarcerations were roughly half that of Black females.