Cover art for podcast Flash Forward

Flash Forward

129 EpisodesProduced by Rose EvelethWebsite

Flash Forward is a show about possible (and not so possible) future scenarios. What would the warranty on a sex robot look like? How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie? Could there ever be a fecal transplant black market? (Complicated, it wouldn’t, and yes, respectively, in case you’re curious.… read more



This episode we travel to a future where the 2020 census goes haywire. What happens if we don’t get an accurate count of Americans? Who cares? Apparently the constitution does! 


 The 2020 census is currently in the crosshairs — census watchers say that it’s not getting enough funding, and community organizations and local governments are already worrying about what an inaccurate census might mean for their people. 


 To walk us through the current perils facing the census I talked to Hansi Lo Wang, a national correspondent for NPR who has been covering the census; Phil Sparks, the co-director of The Census Project, an organization that brings together groups who use census data; Susan Lerner, the director of Common Cause New York, a government watchdog group; Cayden Mak, the executive director of 18 Million Rising, an online organizing group that works with Asian American communities; and Dawn Joelle Fraser, a storyteller and communications coach who worked for the census in 2010. 


 Further reading:


 Could A Census Without A Leader Spell Trouble In 2020? 

 US Census Director Resigns Amid Turmoil Over Funding of 2020 Count

 Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count

 The 2020 Census is at risk. Here are the major consequences

 With 2020 Census Looming, Worries About Fairness and Accuracy

 Trump's threat to the 2020 Census

 NAACP lawsuit alleges Trump administration will undercount minorities in 2020 Census

 Census 2020: How it’s supposed to work (and how it might go terribly wrong)

 Census watchers warn of crisis if 2020 funding is not increased

 Likely Changes in US House Seat Distribution for 2020

 What Census Calls Us: A Historical Timeline

 As 2020 Census Approaches, Worries Rise Of A Political Crisis After The Count

 The American Census: a social history by Margo J. Anderson

 The Story Collider podcast: Dawn Fraser, The Mission


 Note: This is the second to last episode of this season of Flash Forward! The last episode drops January 9th, and then the show will be in hiatus for a few months while I prep for season 4, which is going to be great I can already assure you! If you want to follow along with the prep for season 4, and just generally keep up with what's going on with the show and when it's coming back stay in touch via Twitter, Facebook , Reddit, or, best of all, Patreon, where I'll post behind the scenes stuff as I get ready for the next Flash Forward adventures.


 Also, I’m going on tour with PopUp Magazine in February! Get your tickets at


 Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. Special thanks this week to Liz Neeley who voiced our discouraged bureaucrat. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky. 


 If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool. 


 And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! Head to for more about how to give. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help. 


 As a bonus, at the end of this episode, you'll hear a human chorus record a psalm that was written by Janelle Shane's machine learning algorithm. (Remember her from the super religion episode?) and arranged by Hamish Symington and Owain Park.

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