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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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Rock Island County, Illinois

According to the 2000 Census, Rock Island County, Illinois has a population of 149,374 people. Of those, 127,742 (85%) are White, 11,260 (7%) are Black, and 12,791 (8%) are Latino[1]. However, 1,233 (or 1% of the 149,374 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 Rock Island County a population of 148,141 with a demographic that is 86% White, 7% Black, and 9% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 149,374 1,233 148,141
White 127,742 296 127,446
Black 11,260 825 10,435
Latino 12,791 118 12,673


[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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