A Comparison of Caseloads in U.S. and Texas Trial Courts, 1987-2003
Caseloads chart.
long description of chart

Law and order are chiefly the states' job in the United States. Trends in U.S. and state district court caseloads reflect this division of labor as the comparison of U.S. and Texas state District court caseloads stacked above shows. Federal District courts nationwide handle significantly fewer cases than Texas state District courts alone. In 2003, for example, Texas District courts took on more than 800,000 new cases compared with just less than 320,000 new cases in U.S. district courts. Over time both federal and state caseloads increase gradually with population growth. But relative to population the differences in caseloads are far more dramatic than raw totals alone suggest. From 1981 to 2003 U.S. District courts received annually on average ninety-five civil cases and about nineteen criminal cases for each 100,000 U.S. inhabitants. In contrast, Texas District courts averaged twenty-five times more civil cases (2,439) and fifty-two times more criminal cases (991) for every 100,000 Texans.

Source: Vital Statistics on American Politics; Adminstrative Office of the U.S. Courts; Texas Judicial System Annual Reports. (full source)