Today, the U.S. Census Bureau will release population data from the 2020 Census in an easy-to-use format for Americans who want to advocate for fair maps in this year’s redistricting cycle. The new format of the data will be made available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and will be key to increasing participation in the ongoing redistricting efforts. Earlier on August 12, the Census Bureau released the same demographic information in a more-raw format known as legacy data.
The new format includes a software tool that will make it easier to review the demographic data in a matter of minutes. The data released on August 12 in legacy format required users to import the data into a database and take additional technical steps to easily understand the data. The new format significantly reduces the barriers to participating in redistricting.
The new format will be available at data.census.gov, the Bureau’s new platform for access to its data and digital content. The platform allows users to search for information by state, county, or place, and see an overview of that area in a geographic profile with visualizations and infographics.
By reducing the steps to view the data, more Americans can ensure mapmakers such as state legislators and independent citizens commissions are drawing fair district maps that benefit the community.
Statement of Kathay Feng, Common Cause National Redistricting Director
Our democracy is strongest when everyone has access to the resources needed to advocate for fair maps. Today’s data release is a key step in ensuring every single American can participate in this year’s redistricting cycle.
This new data format democratizes redistricting and puts power in the hands of the people, where it belongs.
Redistricting is our once-in-a-decade shot to protect our voting power and ensure we have elected representatives who will champion our needs. That’s why we must all fight for a process driven by the community, not the politicians.
We are inspired by the tens of thousands of Americans who have already made their voices heard for fair maps. From Oregon and Colorado to Indiana and Ohio, voters are organizing rallies, attending public hearings, and sharing content on social media to demand fair maps.
Today’s data release will mean even more of our friends, family, and neighbors can join the growing movement for fair maps. Together, we can secure a more participatory and inclusive democracy for all of us.
We are also pleased that after months of organizing and ongoing negotiations, the U.S. Senate introduced the Freedom to Vote Act to protect our right to free and fair elections and to elect representatives who deliver for us. The legislation will curb the harmful practice of gerrymandering and we urge the Senate to pass it immediately.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone who wants a redistricting process driven by the people, not politicians, to get involved in redistricting today. Now is our chance to lay the groundwork for a strong and vibrant democracy that is inclusive of every voice and every community for the next decade.
Over the next several months, Common Cause will continue to work alongside state and local groups across the country to ensure everyone can equitably participate in redistricting and have a say in our government.