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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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Avery County, North Carolina

According to the 2000 Census, Avery County, North Carolina has a population of 17,167 people. Of those, 16,129 (94%) are White, 598 (3%) are Black, and 413 (2%) are Latino[1]. However, 1,242 (or 7% of the 17,167 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 Avery County a population of 15,925 with a demographic that is 97% White, 0% Black, and 2% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 17,167 1,242 15,925
White 16,129 687 15,442
Black 598 525 73
Latino 413 25 388


[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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