Saturday, September 17, 2011

Black-white and Hispanic-white incarceration rate ratios by state

In the previous post, an updated visualization of black-white incarceration rate ratios by state was provided. I have no good reason as to why a corresponding table was not included to go along with that, so here it is:

State
B:W
1. Iowa
13.59
2. Vermont
12.49
3. New Jersey
12.38
4. Connecticut
12.00
5. Wisconsin
10.64
6. New Mexico
10.29
7. North Dakota
10.05
8. South Dakota
10.02
9. Rhode Island
9.62
10. New York
9.35
11. Wyoming
9.24
12. New Hampshire
9.22
13. Pennsylvania
9.15
13. Utah
9.15
15. Minnesota
9.14
16. Illinois
9.06
17. Nebraska
8.34
18. Montana
8.24
19. Massachusetts
8.13
20. Maine
7.60
21. Kansas
6.99
22. Colorado
6.65
23. California
6.50
24. Washington
6.42
25. Ohio
6.38
26. Delaware
6.36
27. Virginia
5.89
28. Oregon
5.84
29. Arizona
5.58
29. West Virginia
5.58
31. Michigan
5.49
32. Maryland
5.48
33. Indiana
5.46
34. North Carolina
5.40
35. Missouri
5.25
36. Kentucky
4.98
37. Texas
4.74
38. Louisiana
4.69
39. Nevada
4.65
40. South Carolina
4.47
41. Florida
4.45
42. Oklahoma
4.39
43. Alaska
4.33
44. Idaho
4.25
45. Tennessee
4.12
46. Arkansas
3.86
47. Alabama
3.54
48. Mississippi
3.46
49. Georgia
3.32
50. Hawaii
1.88

The proximity-to-the-Canadian-border phenomenon is detectable. It's plausible to think that to some extent this is a consequence of whites behaving better the further north we go, while blacks are blacks, wherever they are. I'm skeptical, though, because it's not just whites who fare better as we head north--blacks do so as well, and the latitude-performance correlation is virtually identical for both races.

When Steve ran the numbers, he found a vigorous correlation of .62 between the 1997 black-white incarceration rate ratio and Kerry's share of the 2004 vote. As La Griffe du Lion has explained, this is largely attributable to stricter sentencing for criminal activity in red states than in blue states.

That remains the case with the fresher data, although the relationship has weakened. The correlation between the 2005 black-white rate ratio and McCain's share of the 2008 vote is .34 (p=.02). If red states were full of racist whites who wanted to irrationally throw large numbers of blacks in jail and blue states full of SWPLs who did not, we'd expect the correlation to run in the opposite direction. When it comes to closing the jail gap, red states do a better job of it than blue states do.

Fortunately for community organizers and activists everywhere, there is a silver lining in the (disgraceful!) nationwide trend towards tougher sentencing laws that has more people in the US behind bars now than ever before--the jail gap narrowed between 1997 and 2005 in a full 45 states. In only five lily white (and thus racist!) places--Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming--did it widen.

As someone who is keenly aware of the Hispanic tidal wave crashing onto our shores from the Gulf of Mexico and the southern end of our coastal border with the Pacific ocean, I would be remiss not to present a table showing Hispanic-white incarceration rate ratios by state. Unfortunately, data were not available in eleven states--AL, KS, ME, MD, MN, NM, NC, SD, VT, WI, and WY--that apparently do not inquire about (or at least publicly report on) whether or not prisoners are Hispanic:

State
H:W
1. Connecticut
6.64
2. Massachusetts
6.11
3. Pennsylvania
5.62
4. New York
4.47
5. New Hampshire
3.68
6. New Jersey
3.32
7. Rhode Island
3.30
8. North Dakota
3.18
9. Nebraska
2.55
10. Iowa
2.47
11. Idaho
2.45
12. Utah
2.14
13. Colorado
1.98
14. Montana
1.95
15. Illinois
1.86
16. Arizona
1.82
17. Ohio
1.78
18. Delaware
1.72
19. California
1.70
20. Kentucky
1.35
21. Washington
1.34
22. Indiana
1.25
23. Texas
1.24
24. Virginia
1.23
25. Mississippi
1.21
25. Missouri
1.21
27. Tennessee
1.15
27. South Carolina
1.15
29. Oregon
1.14
30. Oklahoma
1.12
31. Nevada
0.99
32. Michigan
0.96
33. Georgia
0.92
34. Alaska
0.76
35. Florida
0.65
36. Arkansas
0.60
37. West Virginia
0.54
38. Louisiana
0.47
39. Hawaii
0.41

As Peter explained in the comments of a previous post, Puerto Ricans (virtually all of whom are Hispanic) in the US are heavily concentrated in the Northeast and fare especially poorly among Hispanic immigrants and their descendants in the US. That is clearly evident above, as the Northeast takes all the top spots.

Florida's Cuban population, while no longer constituting a majority of the state's Hispanics still comprises a sizable chunk of it, presumably makes the state look great on this ranking.

Hawaii's combination of a large military presence and relatively unintelligent whites help to place it at the very bottom of the list. Accounting for the fact that the Aloha state's Asian/PI population is distinctly less prosperous than Asians in the US as a whole, it's probably the most racially egalitarian state in the country.

The biggest surprise to me is Nevada, where Hispanics and whites are incarcerated at almost identical rates. Excepting New Mexico for which data are unavailable, Hispanics in the border states predictably all end up in jail more frequently than whites in those states do. Any ideas as to why Nevada bucks this trend? Michigan is also unexpected.

Excluding Alaska (there are Hispanics in Alaska? Yes, though fewer than 40,000 of them), the rest of the states where Hispanics are better behaved than whites are in the South, where whites are more prone to criminal activity than they are in the Midwest, Northeast, or Old Northwest.

13 comments:

sykes.1 said...

While it is true that virtually all Puerto Ricans are Hispanic, I was under the impression that a significant fraction, perhaps a majority, were black.

Do you have any racial breakdown for Puerto Ricans?

Wegie said...

Puerto Ricans are a mix of Hispanics and black Africans.

Audacious Epigone said...

The wikipedia entry reports that 3/4s of Puerto Ricans are white (of Spanish ancestry). How much African and Amerindian admixture is present among them, I wonder?

Ed Tom Kowalsky said...

There was a great scene in the 1979 film Fast Break where erstwhile basketball coach Gabe Kaplan ventures into an inner city pool hall to recruit a pool shark nicknamed "Hustler" to his basketball team. The proprietor of the establishment sees Hustler and gives him the bum's rush while weilding a baseball bat. As Hustler and Kaplan unceremoniously exit, the proprietor shouts "Don't you ever come back here! And take that Puerto Rican with you!"

I'm sure that says something about Puerto Rican genetics. Could they have a bit of Ashkenazi Jew to 'em?

Anonymous said...

Puerto Ricans are a triracial mix of African, Taino, and Spanish. They tend to identify as white, but most "white" Puerto Ricans would probably be considered mulatto-metizo in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Nevada whites behave pretty badly probably because a lot of them are uneducated marginal types drawn in by Las Vegas. You get lots of drifters, single moms, gamblers, drinker, roughnecks, etc. I remember seeing a show about crime in Las Vegas and an awfully large percentage of the dangerous criminals were white guys. More than you'd expect for a big city.

Peter said...

My home state of Connecticut is near the top of the list for blacks as well as at the very top for Hispanics. One reason is that the white population is quite well-behaved: generally older and prosperous, with very few redneck or white trash types.

Ed Tom Kowalsky said...

Anon,

Is white organized crime still a major factor in the Vegas crime scene, or has it been pretty well cleaned out?

Anonymous said...

From DNA studies Puerto Ricans are on average significantly more sub-Saharan African than some of the other "Hispanic" groups like Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

"Whites" in Hawaii probably have more non-White admixture than the rest of the states, miscegenation is the norm there.

Anonymous said...

The wikipedia entry reports that 3/4s of Puerto Ricans are white

"White" is relative and corrupted in Latin America just like the people. You can be 25% non-white and be called white. Mariah Carey and Jessica Alba are white in Latin America.

The federal Naturalization Act, signed into law on March 26, 1790, by President Washington, explicitly barred anyone not of the White "race" from applying for U.S. citizenship. This law remained in effect until the 1950s, although its enforcement was tightened in the late 19th century regarding Asian immigrants, and by the Johnson-Reed act of 1924 imposing immigration quotas. In short, until the middle of the 20th century, only immigrants of the White "race" could hope to become naturalized citizens. This is how Puerto Rico came about being forced to become U.S citizens in 1917.

An interesting anecdote to consider was that during this whole period, Puerto Rico had laws like the Regla del Sacar or Gracias al Sacar where a person of mixed ancestry could be considered legally white so long as they could prove that at least one person per generation in the last four generations had also been legally white. Therefore people of mixed ancestry with known white lineage were classified as white, the opposite of the "one-drop rule" in the United States.

A recent study of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 800 individuals found that patrilineal input, as indicated by the Y-chromosome, showed over 70% of Puerto Ricans could trace their ancestry to male European ancestors, 20% could trace it to male African ancestors, and less than 10% could trace it to male Native American ancestors.

As for maternal DNA, 61.1% of those sampled were found as having Amerindian maternal mtDNA. This means that if you could trace back in time from daughter to mother, you would eventually reach women who lived in Puerto Rico in Pre-Columbian time. The rest divides between 26.4% with female African ancestors and 12.5% with female European ancestors.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon12:08,

Much appreciated, thanks!

Anonymous said...

So "(racist!)" is ironic. Is "(disgraceful!)" ironic or sincere?

- Olave "Can't Log In" d'Estienne