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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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Pierce County, Washington

According to the 2000 Census, Pierce County, Washington has a population of 700,820 people. Of those, 549,369 (78%) are White, 48,730 (7%) are Black, and 38,621 (5%) are Latino[1]. However, 4,749 (or 1% of the 700,820 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 Pierce County a population of 696,071 with a demographic that is 78% White, 7% Black, and 6% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 700,820 4,749 696,071
White 549,369 3,255 546,114
Black 48,730 1,077 47,653
Latino 38,621 365 38,256


[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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