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I am interested in seeing how the demographics of juries compare with voters in the United States. Is anyone familiar with any research in this area? In a perfect world voters would be defined as "reported voters" however I will gladly accepted "reported registered to vote."

  • I believe the details vary from state-to-state. Many states, I believe, use the voter registry as a way to randomly select Juror candidates, so at that level, the demographics should match 1:1. As for who gets SELECTED to actually be a part of the trial, that's a different process and likely produces a much greater difference in terms of demographic comparison. – user1530 May 12 '14 at 16:33
  • @DA my question is not about "potential jurors" compared to voters, it is about jurors--potential jurors SELECTED to sit on the jury. These are the individuals have gone through voir dire, were not granted postponement, excused for hardship, etc. – dfc May 12 '14 at 19:01
  • Jury of your peers these days means 12 people too dumb to get out of Jury Duty</snark> – user4012 May 12 '14 at 20:59
  • If you're asking about post voir dire--I think that's an interesting question. Not sure if there is data on that. – user1530 May 13 '14 at 2:32
  • @blip While almost every jurisdiction starts with a voter list to select jurors, it is almost universal at this point to use additional sources of jurors to supplement that list, and there is a risk of constitutional challenge to convictions if the jury pool isn't expanded in this way. – ohwilleke Mar 2 '17 at 17:41
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While it is only one data point and doesn't directly compare to voter registration pools (and hence is only a partial answer), a Master's Thesis comparing juries in 2000 and 2010 reached this conclusion (raw Chi square statistics omitted without indication) regarding jury pools in a Tennessee county in informative of the general trends:

[C]ompared to the 2008 Census data, the jury panels have a significantly higher percentage of White/Caucasians (83.2% vs. 74.1%, p < .01), and a higher percentage of males (53.1% vs. 46.8%, p =.015). Additionally, the participants were older (p < .01), had higher levels of income (p < .01), higher levels of education (p < .01). . . .

[C]ompared with the 2000 Census, the jury panels in 2000 had significantly more White/Caucasians (83.3% vs. 75.5%), p=.046. Additionally, the potential jurors from the previous studies tended to be older (p < .01), have higher levels of income (p < .01), and higher levels of education (p < .01). . . .

[T]he present jury pools are composed of citizens who are older, more male, more White/Caucasian, more likely to be married, have higher education levels, and have higher levels of income than 10 years ago. . . . In 2000, the typical juror was a 39-year-old White, female, who was married, with some college, and whose income was about $55,000 per year. In 2010, the typical juror is a 50-year-old White, male, who is married, with an associate‟s degree, and whose income is approximately $59,000 per year.

  • It is also important to be careful about terminology. The pool of people who are called for jury duty differs from the people who show up to potentially serve on juries and differs from the people who actually end up serving on juries. For example, lawyers aren't heavily over represented in those called, are overrepresented among those called among those who show up, and are grossly underrepresented among those who show up who actually end up serving as jurors. This study looks at those actually serving. The disparity is also greater on grand juries (that last many week) than on trial juries. – ohwilleke Aug 19 at 20:19
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Note that these are two disparate groups in the US: Lifehacker

We can already see the juror pool is basically all citizens in America and the number of registered voters is a subset:

Potential jurors were once pulled from voter registration lists and you could avoid serving simply by choosing not to vote. Things have since changed, however, and whether or not you vote has little impact. Nowadays, procuring a state-issued ID or driver's license, buying a home, and/or filing tax returns can get you on the list as well. Basically, if you're an active citizen of the United States you can expect to be called someday.

Voting Rolls contain more illegal immigrants Heritage Note that illegals would not be allowed to serve on a jury, and often self-report such status to get out of jury duty.

In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that up to 3 percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two-year period in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens.

The juror pools have more proportionally minorities than those that vote.

While the U.S. electorate is growing more diverse, there’s a caveat when it comes to the impact of these changes: the relatively low voter turnout rates among Hispanics and Asians. In the 2012 presidential election, 64% of non-Hispanic white eligible voters cast ballots, as did 67% of black eligible voters. By comparison, the voter turnout rate was 48% among Hispanics and 47% among Asians. This roughly corresponds to number of registered voters. Pewresearch

Here are the voting registration stats and you can compare them to US Citizen stats directly Link. These are fairly intuitive. You can see for example home owners and women are more represented in the voting rolls than juror pools.

Male 69.1

Female 72.8

White 73.5

Black 69.7

Asian 55.3

Hispanic 59.4

Age 18 to 24 58.5

Age 25 to 34 66.4

Age 35 to 44 69.9

Age 45 to 54 73.5

Age 55 to 64 76.6

Age 65 to 74 78.1

Age 75 or older 76.6

Less than high school graduate 50.5

High school graduate 64.1

Some college 75.3

Bachelor's degree 81.2

Advanced degree 85.8

Income less than $20,000 63.7

$20,000 to $29,999 67.1

$30,000 to $39,999 71.1

$40,000 to $49,999 72.6

$50,000 to $74,999 78.2

$75,000 to $99,999 81.9

$100,000 and over 79.6

Owns home 74.5

Rents home 60.1

  • 4
    This answer goes into length about voter registration, but doesn't really say anything about jurors. Jurors aren't the same as the juror pool, so you can't just compare them directly. It also doesn't get into the various selection methods for jury duty (state to state, or state vs federal). I'm sure there's a better source than Lifehacker for this. – Geobits Nov 17 '16 at 19:42
  • I knew this was not going to go well when I read "Note that these are two disparate groups." Geobits hit most of the problems with this answer... – dfc Nov 17 '16 at 20:35
  • The voter registration figure from Heritage is wrong, largely because jurors are not only drawn from voter registration rolls as the report wrongly assumes. Typically, state ID and driver's license lists, etc. are included. Non-citizen voter registration is on the order of 2-3 per 30,000 not 900 per 30,000, and undocumented immigrant voter registration is much lower than that. See sources cited at washparkprophet.blogspot.com/2017/01/… – ohwilleke Mar 2 '17 at 16:44
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I believe it would depend upon the pool by which potential jurors are selected. In my locality it seems related to be the voter registration list, the driver’s license list, and the state ID list. Over the past 3 decades I've been picked a few times, and served once. In the times I did not serve, I was selected to serve in a county from which I had moved away, thereby making me ineligible to serve in that county. The odds here are about 1 in 20. Then you could start looking at the demographics that would exempt people from the list, or allow them to get out of doing it. Judges are automatically exempt from jury duty. To qualify here for jury duty, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county, at least 18-years-old, able to communicate in English. If you are a convicted felon, you have to have completed legal requirements to have your civil rights restored.

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    I think maybe you meant to add this as a comment? It doesn't answer the question at all. You spent a lot of time discussing eligibility to be on a jury but the question is about actual jurors, this is after voire dire not before. This answer was doomed when I got to "odds are 1 in 20"? – dfc Mar 2 '17 at 16:19

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