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How the Census counts people living in group quarters and what it means for redistricting

Santiam Correctional Institution near Salem, Oregon, USA (source: Wikimedia)

Population outside “housing units”

Redistricting implications

  • College campuses are prime targets for gerrymandering. The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University found that campuses serving large minority student populations are 1.8 times more likely to be packed or cracked in Congressional boundaries. The IDHE also created this tool for visualizing the student population in 2020 census data.
  • In a practice known as “prison gerrymandering”, many states assign incarcerated adults to their correctional facility rather than their home community for the purposes of redistricting.
Interactive map of group quarters population in the 2020 US Census

Use this data in DistrictBuilder

  • Download the full set of group quarters variables for all 50 states here.
  • Download files by group quarters category for New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania here.
Texas Military Quarters in DistrictBuilder (Left); Texas Nursing and Skilled Nursing Facilities in DistrctBuilder (Right)
Pennsylvania College and University Student Housing in DistrictBuilder (Left); Pennsylvania Adult Correctional Facilities in DistrictBuilder (Right)



Draw fair districts for every state with our free redistricting tool. Check it out at www.districtbuilder.org

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