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Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

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Erie County, Pennsylvania

According to the 2000 Census, Erie County, Pennsylvania has a population of 280,843 people. Of those, 255,282 (91%) are White, 17,202 (6%) are Black, and 6,126 (2%) are Latino[1]. However, 2,574 (or 1% of the 280,843 people) are not residents by choice but are people in prison.

Even though prisoners cannot participate in the local community, the Census Bureau nevertheless counts them as residents of the county where they are incarcerated.

A more accurate description would not include the prisoners. This would give Erie County a population of 278,269 with a demographic that is 91% White, 6% Black, and 2% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 280,843 2,574 278,269
White 255,282 1,340 253,942
Black 17,202 1,210 15,992
Latino 6,126 224 5,902


[1]The numbers for Whites, Blacks and Latinos may not add up to the total number because we have not included racial groups other than Whites and Blacks and because the Census Bureau considers "Latino" to be an ethnicity, not a race. Most of the people reported as being Latino are also counted as being White or Black.

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