The 2020 census will impact the nation — from determining how much federal money will go to states, to dividing congressional seats, to helping city planners organize and build for their futures. However, a less than stellar rollout and controversy over a citizenship question proposed by the Trump administration have severely hampered projections of its accuracy.

One area of the census that isn’t as scrutinized is the way states count their prisoners. In the practice of prison gerrymandering, mass incarceration of African Americans skews the census count in both the places the prisoners live and the prisons they are sent to.

“What they do is they count those folks who are behind bars as residents of the place they are incarcerated, not where that inmate might call home,” explains independent journalist Natasha Haverty. Her work reporting on prison gerrymandering in Wisconsin is featured in the Reveal episode, “Don’t Count on the Census.”

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