Prisoner count skews Illinois population
by Peter Wagner, January 12, 2004
Paul Street illustrates how Census counts of prisoners at the prisons rather than at home skew the population of Illinois in important ways:
… The Chicago metropolitan area is home to 83 percent of the state’s African-Americans and point of origin for 70 percent of the state’s prisoners. Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of the state’s 45,629 prisoners in 2001 were African-American, a percentage more than four timers greater than blacks’ share of Illinois’ population. Forty-four percent of the state’s prisoners are African Americans from Chicago’s Cook County. Eighteen of the twenty adult correctional facilities constructed over the last two decades in Illinois are located in counties that are disproportionately white for the state. Just four of the state’s twenty post-1980 prison towns have above-average black populations for the state but in three of those this is only because they get to report prisoners as part of their population.