How many U.S. adults have a criminal record? Depends on how you define it

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants businesses in New York state to hire more applicants with a criminal record. They become loyal employees and bring tax benefits, he said. And, they make up a huge pool of prospective employees.

"70 million Americans have a criminal record — that’s one in three adults," Cuomo wrote in an article on career website LinkedIn.

People with a criminal record number too many for employers to pass over because of unsubstantiated fears of workplace violence, theft or incompetence, he said.

But is the number as high as he said? Does one in every three adults have a criminal record?

The FBI’s definition of criminal record

The FBI considers anyone who has been arrested on a felony charge to have a criminal record, even if the arrest did not lead to a conviction. The FBI only counts those with a misdemeanor if a state agency asks the bureau to keep it on file.

So by the FBI’s standard, 73.5 million people in the United States had a criminal record as of June 30. FULL ARTICLE

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