- Assistant Professor
Immigration and Incarceration in the US: 1870-2020
Title: “Immigration and Incarceration in the US: 1870-2020" (joint with Ran Abramitzky, Leah Boustan, Elisa Jácome and Juan David Torres)
Speaker: Santiago Pérez (UC Davis and GMC)
Abstract: Using newly assembled data on the universe of incarcerated individuals in the United States from the full-count population Censuses (1870-1940) and samples of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (1950-2020), we provide the first nationally representative series of immigrant-native incarceration gaps between 1870 and the present day. We find that immigrants have almost never been more likely to be incarcerated than white US-born men. Prior to 1960, immigrants’ incarceration rates were virtually identical to the incarceration rates of white US-born individuals. However, starting in 1960, immigrants have become less likely to be incarcerated than US-born whites. Immigrants today are 40% less likely to be incarcerated than white US-born men, and 60% less likely to be incarcerated relative to the broader US-born population that includes non-whites.The relative decline of immigrant incarceration rates has occurred among immigrants from all major sending countries.