Today, the U.S. Census Bureau published proposed “2020 Census Residence Rule and Residence Situations” in the Federal Register and are available at <https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-15372>.
The residence criteria are used to determine where people are counted during each decennial census. This data is critical for redistricting as it determines how prisoners, students, overseas military and civilian government personnel, homeless, visitors and so many other classes of people are counted on Census Day, 2020.
Of major importance is a change to the way prison population are reported. After the 2010 census, New York, Maryland and Delaware enacted laws to reassign prisoner populations to “homes of record” before incarceration (Delaware delayed implementation until 2020). California now plans to reassign prisoners after 2020.
Today’s proposed rules represent a major step forward to assist states with prisoner reassignments for redistricting:
“The Census Bureau plans to offer a product that states can request, in order to assist them in their goals of reallocating their own prisoner population counts. Any state that requests this product will be required to submit a data file (indicating where each prisoner was incarcerated on Census Day, as well as their pre-incarceration address) in a specified format. The Census Bureau will review the submitted file and, if it includes the necessary data, provide a product that contains supplemental information the state can use to construct alternative within-state tabulations for its own purposes. However, the Census Bureau will not use the information in this product to make any changes to the official decennial census counts.
The Census Bureau also plans to provide group quarters data after the 2020 Census sooner than it was provided after the 2010 Census. For the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau released the Advance Group Quarters Summary File showing the seven major types of group quarters, including correctional facilities for adults and juvenile facilities. This early  release of data on the group quarters population was beneficial to many data users, including those in the redistricting community who must consider whether to include or exclude certain populations when redrawing boundaries as a result of state legislation. The Census Bureau is planning to incorporate similar group quarters information in the standard Redistricting Data (Pub. L. 94-171) Summary File for 2020.”
The Bureau welcomes written comments, which can be emailed to
or mailed to Karen Humes, Chief, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 6H174, Washington, DC 20233. Comments must be received in writing by August 1, 2016.