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Countries by Crime: Prisoners per capita – Austria and America compared

Nationmaster: Countries by Crime: Prisoners – Per capita.:
A wonderful website for comparing countries. I don’t have much time to do an extended comparison now but some numbers just jumped out at me.

First – the number of prisoners in each country. Austria – 8,114. The United States – 2,078,570.

Fine, you say. The United States has thirty times the population. So what?

Break it down per capita. The United States has 715 prisoners per capita. Austria has 100.

For that matter Finland has 71.

Moral of the story – treat people decently, provide basic social services and health care – and not too many of them break the law/need to be imprisoned.

I would defend the above on human grounds. But for the utilitarian/capitalism enthusiasts out there, that’s a big prison bill saved. Court bills saved, judges salaries saved.

Another interesting statistic – 33% of the incarcerated population in Austria is foreign. It is even higher in Switzerland – 70.8%. In the United States it is only .5%.

Some might want to call out xenophobe. I think differently. Foreigners don’t have the same training in abiding laws as the native population in these countries and thus often make the mistake of breaking them.

When crime is low, the police are remarkably efficient at finding criminals.


  1. Bushwick Bill Bushwick Bill

    What you Europeans have ignored time and again as you’ve smugly bashed America is that so many of America’s problems are related to our large population of blacks. As you Europeans continue to import Third Worlders, you are seeing a surge in the same kinds of crime that America has seen since the 1960s. I dare say that if you Europeans ever surpass America in your population of Third Worlders as a percentage of your total population, that you’ll also surpass us in incarceration rates.

    You Europeans have been so smug…but karma will ensure that you’ll pay for your smugness.

  2. Jolanda Dubbeldam Jolanda Dubbeldam

    I am a Dutch citizen, living in the USA for the past 7 years. I am familiar with European views of USA policy and society – some based on fact, many on prejudice and ignorance. Please see the following link on crime, you might be interested to see that the Netherlands, which pampers its citizens almost more than any other country, in fact has some of the highest (violent) crime rates on the planet – certainly much higher than the USA.

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