Inelastic displacements of reinforced concrete systems are investigated by employing an energy-based approach. A hysteresis model is developed that accounts for stiffness degradation, strength deterioration and pinching. The model is calibrated by using experimental data from literature. Inelastic displacement ratios are calculated under a specific set of ground motion records with long effective durations. The results reveal the importance of deteriorating behavior under long duration excitations, especially for short and medium period structures. The last part of the study is devoted to the introduction of a simple empirical relationship for estimating the inelastic displacement demands of degrading RC structural systems.