BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Civil Rights
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Examines civil rights claims based on race, age, sex, or national origin involving employment, welfare, housing, voting, or other civil rights discrimination issues. It covers civil rights claims litigated in federal district courts from 1990 to 2006. Information is presented on trends in types of civil rights cases filed in federal district courts, the basis of federal court jurisdiction, case processing time, disposition of civil rights cases, and the types of trials that occur in the federal courts. In addition, this report examines who wins in civil rights trials and the estimated median monetary amount awarded to litigants.

Summary findings

  • Civil rights filings doubled in U.S. district courts from 1990 (18,922 filings) to 1997 (43,278 filings) and subsequently stabilized until 2003. From 2003 through 2006, the number of civil rights cases filed in U.S. district courts declined by 20%.
  • During the period from 1990 through 2006, the percentage of civil rights cases concluded by trial declined from 8% to 3%.
  • From 2000 to 2006 plaintiffs won just under a third of civil rights trials on average, and the median damage awards for plaintiffs who won in civil rights trials ranged from $114,000 to $154,500.

Publications & Products


Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts, 1990 - 2006 "Civil rights cases filed in U.S. District Courts declined by nearly 20 percent from 2003 to 2006"
  Press Release | More information about this release

Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts, 1990-2006 Examines civil rights claims based on race, age, sex, or national origin involving employment, welfare, housing, voting, or other civil rights discrimination issues.
  Press Release | PDF (137K) | ASCII file (31K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 22K) | To order paper version
Part of the Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts Series

Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts, 1990-98 "More than 42,000 civil rights complaints filed in Federal district courts during 1998"
  Press Release | More information about this release

Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts, 1990-98 Presents findings about civil rights cases in U.S. district courts that dealt with employment, housing, welfare, voting, or other civil rights issues between 1990 and 1998.
  Press Release (5K) | PDF (116K) | ASCII file (44K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 24K) | Codebooks and Datasets
Part of the Civil Rights Complaints in U.S. District Courts Series