Almost half of all black males and 40 percent of white males in the U.S. have been arrested by age 23, according to a research conducted using the Department of Labor's National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
The analysis of data on teenagers and young adults from 1997 to 2008 showed that race differences are most striking among arrested males.
The study considered arrest histories from truancy to underage drinking and more serious and violent offenses. Minor traffic violations were not considered.
"A problem is that many males -- especially black males -- are navigating the transition from youth to adulthood with the baggage and difficulties from contact with the criminal justice system," said Robert Brame, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina.
The analysis, published in the journal Crime & Delinquency, found that by age 18 30 percent of black males, 26 percent of Hispanic males and 22 percent of white males had been arrested.
But by age 23, 49 percent of black males, 44 percent of Hispanic males and 38 percent of white males had been arrested.
While there was an increase in arrest rates for women between the ages of 18 and 23, there was only slight race variation. By age 23, arrest rates were 20 percent for white females, 18 percent for Hispanic females and 16 percent for black females.
Brame said the next step was to analyze why these numbers were so high by looking at socio-economic and law enforcement factors.
"Experiencing formal contact with the criminal justice system could also have powerful effects on behavior and impose substantial constraints on opportunities for America's youth," Brame said, calling for further study.
[Crime And Delinquency]