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Population Change by Congressional District, 2008

by: Crisitunity

Mon Oct 05, 2009 at 8:19 PM EDT


The Census Bureau recently released all of its data from the 2008 American Community Survey estimates, which is like Christmas Day in the Crisitunity household. I'll be looking at the data divvied up by congressional district in several different ways in the coming week; today, I'm starting with the most basic element: population change. This doesn't tell us much about how the composition of each district is changing, but it tells us a lot about what direction different districts are heading as we approach 2010 redistricting.

Let's start with the 25 districts that have experience the greatest population change over the period from the 2000 census to the 2008 estimate, in terms of raw numbers. These are the districts that will be shedding population in 2010, in some cases into newly-created districts:

DistrictRep.20002008Change
AZ-02Franks (R)641,435991,439350,004
AZ-06Flake (R)641,360957,920316,560
TX-10McCaul (R)651,523955,363303,840
NV-03Titus (D)665,345966,577301,232
FL-05Brown-Waite (R)639,719920,242280,523
GA-07Linder (R)630,511901,363270,852
UT-03Chaffetz (R)744,545974,639230,094
NC-09Myrick (R)619,705847,888228,183
TX-26Burgess (R)651,858875,556223,698
TX-22Olson (R)651,657873,878222,221
CA-45Bono Mack (R)638,553860,052221,499
GA-06T. Price (R)630,613834,530203,917
AZ-07Grijalva (D)640,996840,106199,110
TX-03S. Johnson (R)651,782845,481193,699
CA-44Calvert (R)639,008831,454192,446
FL-14Mack (R)639,298830,717191,419
TX-31Carter (R)651,868841,984190,116
CA-25McKeon (R)638,768819,973181,205
CO-06Coffman (R)614,491794,480179,989
TX-21L. Smith (R)651,930828,925176,995
NC-04D. Price (D)619,432794,794175,362
FL-25M. Diaz-Balart (R)638,315812,082173,767
GA-09Deal (R)629,678803,245173,567
IL-14Foster (D)654,031823,661169,630
FL-06Stearns (R)638,952807,026168,074

You may recall that we looked at this same project a year ago, using 2007 data. Compared with last year's list of the top 20 gainers, there's a lot of stability. AZ-02 moves up from #3 to the top spot, with AZ-06 falling to second place. Entrants to the list are TX-31, CA-25, TX-21, NC-04, and FL-06, while GA-03, ID-01, FL-08, VA-10, and WA-08 fall off.

Much more over the flip...

Crisitunity :: Population Change by Congressional District, 2008
And here are the districts that have lost the most population in the period from 2000 to 2008. These ones will need to absorb the most surrounding territory (or simply be eliminated and dispersed into their neighboring districts):

DistrictRep.20002008Change
LA-02Cao (R)639,048469,262- 169,786
MI-13Kilpatrick (D)662,844558,280- 104,564
OH-11Fudge (D)630,668548,080-82,588
PA-14Doyle (D)645,809574,861- 70,948
MI-14Conyers (D)662,468591,652- 70,816
PA-02Fattah (D)647,350586,216- 61,134
NY-28Slaughter (D)654,464598,124- 56,340
TN-09Cohen (D)631,740586,190- 45,550
AL-07A. Davis (D)635,631591,670- 43,961
MI-12Levin (D)662,559621,619- 40,940
MS-02B. Thompson (D)710,996670,638- 40,358
PA-01Brady (D)645,422606,632- 38,790
OH-10Kucinich (D)631,003593,065- 37,938
IL-04Gutierrez (D)653,654618,313- 35,341
IL-01Rush (D)654,203620,843- 33,360
PA-12Murtha (D)646,419617,797- 28,622
NY-27Higgins (D)654,200627,105- 27,095
MO-01Clay (D)621,497594,535- 26,962
MI-05Kildee (D)662,584636,803- 25,781
OH-17Ryan (D)630,316604,607- 25,709
IN-07Carson (D)675,804650,746- 25,058
IL-07D. Davis (D)653,521629,923- 23,598
MN-05Ellison (D)614,874591,467- 23,407
IL-02J. Jackson (D)654,078630,933- 23,145
IL-17Hare (D)653,531630,745- 22,786

No surprise here in terms of change: the Katrina-ravaged LA-02 is still the biggest loser of population (although it's currently a very fast growing district, as it gradually repopulates). Detroit and Cleveland, though, are depopulating as a result of their own disasters (economic in this case), and MI-13 and OH-11 both nose ahead of the former #2, Pittsburgh's PA-14. Near the bottom of the list, the dwindling IL-01, PA-12, MI-05, IN-07, and IL-02 move on, while CA-09, KS-01, PA-05, CA-53, and MA-08 arrest their decline a bit and move off the list.

My observations remain much the same as last year: the David Brookses of the world would look at the sheer number of exurban red districts in the fast-growing column and the number of urban blue districts in the shrinking column, and point to hundreds of years of Republican dominance as urbanites are pulling away from the teat of the welfare state and moving out to the exurbs to make a fresh start as Patio Man and Realtor Mom.

Not exactly: as the suburbs start to spread outward into these districts, bringing their annoying diversity, density, and workaday problems with them, these red districts are, for the most part, becoming Democratic. Just for a few examples, consider CA-25, which went from 59-40 for Bush to 49-48 for Obama, or NC-09, which went from 63-36 for Bush to 55-45 for McCain. In addition -- as we'll see in the next installment, where we'll focus on changes in race -- immigrants are often making the suburbs their first destination, quickly changing the complexion of the outer rings around many cities.

Some of you may be wondering, "Well, wouldn't change by percentage instead of by raw numbers be more interesting?" In this case, it barely makes a difference in terms of ranking, because we're starting from essentially the same baseline everywhere in 2000 (generally around 660,000). The most noteworthy exception is UT-03, which is lower down the list of gainers (13th) when ordered by percentage because Utah districts started out large.

Another way of looking at this question that isn't quite so interesting is: what are the most (and least populous) districts? Most of the lists are completely the same, but there are some oddball picks in there, districts that simply started out very big (MT-AL) or very small (WY-AL). The top 10 most populous, by 2008 numbers, are: AZ-02, UT-03, MT-AL, NV-03, AZ-06, TX-10, FL-05, GA-07, UT-01, and UT-02. The 10 least populous are: LA-02, RI-01, RI-02, WY-AL, OH-11, NE-03, MI-13, IA-05, PA-14, and WV-03. (These suggest that, come 2020, we may be looking at Rhode Island dropping to a single district and Nebraska and West Virginia dropping to two each.)

Finally, here's one other way of slicing and dicing the numbers that's worth a look: the population change between 2007 and 2008. I was expecting to see a lot of people fleeing the worst epicenters of economic collapse (the manufacturing problems of Detroit and Cleveland, the housing bubble-related problems of Phoenix, southern Florida, and California's Central Valley), but I simply don't see much of a pattern. More likely what happened is that the economic crisis really put a damper on overall mobility in the last year, as many demographers have suggested... and what we're seeing is a lot of float within the margin of error (as, remember, the ACS is an estimate, and there's a plus-or-minus of more than 10,000 on their population estimates).

Here are the biggest gainers over one year. As I hinted at, the fastest growing district is LA-02, although it's still way off from its peak:

DistrictRep.20072008Change
LA-02Cao (R)395,592469,26273,670
UT-03Chaffetz (R)907,472974,63967,167
TX-10McCaul (R)898,647955,36356,716
AZ-02Franks (R)939,215991,43952,224
NY-01T. Bishop (D)667,336713,08445,748
CA-08Pelosi (D)621,146664,96343,817
TX-12Granger (R)770,083813,56143,478
CA-47Lo. Sanchez (D)617,224657,70540,481
CA-50Bilbray (R)708,288747,88039,592
CA-25McKeon (R)782,014819,97337,959

And here are the biggest losers. There are a lot of southern California districts here, but they tend to be either Hispanic-majority districts or comfortable, established areas (CA-46), rather than the stereotypical instant exurbs of CA-44 and CA-45 where option ARMs got a new generation of homeowners into the balsa-wood-and-drywall duplexes of their dreams. Also, interestingly, rather than the canyons of empty condo towers along Florida's Gold Coast, instead the leader is FL-21, a neighborhood of established middle-class Cubano suburbs west of Miami.

DistrictRep.20072008Change
FL-21L. Diaz-Balart (R)707,168670,760- 36,408
CA-39Li. Sanchez (D)669,981635,955- 34,026
TX-07Culberson (R)782,163751,034- 31,129
MA-09Lynch (D)668,799639,053- 29,746
CA-18Cardoza (D)714,167686,109- 28,058
FL-03C. Brown (D)668,709642,194- 26,515
CA-13Stark (D)672,300647,397- 24,903
CA-38Napolitano (D)653,733629,942- 23,791
CA-46Rohrabacher (R)655,857632,809- 23,048
NJ-06Pallone (D)673,587650,895- 22,692
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Very interesting
I wonder if the huge disparity in district sizes would argue for redistricting that is more frequent than every decade. Conceivably there might even be a one person, one vote argument to be made. As for reapportionment, though, the Constitution is pretty clear that that only happens every ten years.

Love the BoBo Brooks line, btw.


What would be the basis for it?
It would seem constitutionally problematic to use anything other than decennial census.  

28, Unenrolled, MA-08

[ Parent ]
For re-apportionment, clearly yes
But maybe not for redistricting. I'm wondering - in TX and GA, did they use newer numbers when they attempted mid-decade redistricting? Or did they use updated ACS estimates?

[ Parent ]
Are the new numbersr accurate?
Or are they just projections?  

[ Parent ]
I'm fairly sure they used the old numbers
I couldn't find any documentation of this online though, so I might be wrong.

28, Unenrolled, MA-08

[ Parent ]
Required to use 2000 numbers.
Using ACS numbers would have been unconstitutional.

If they had used the ACS numbers, than GA-7 and GA-6 wouldn't be as overstuffed as they are now, because earlier population growth from this decade would have been factored into the remap.  


[ Parent ]
Absolutely had to use old numbers


[ Parent ]
I could conceive of going after
the statute that requires single member districts. But that would be undesirable for all sorts of reasons.  

[ Parent ]
NC-04
Is my congressional district and I'm not surprised that it gained so many people. The suburbs in Wake County, espescially Cary, continue to explode in population, mostly from the thousands of transplants that arrive each week in the Triangle. The suburbs in Wake County are kind of a mixed bag in terms of Democratic/Republican performance. For instance we have two suburban Cary-area school board seats up tomorrow and they are looking very competitive. But Obama did much better in the suburbs than previous candidates, and Raleigh as a whole is very progressive. I'm still not sure if we'll get a 14th district though, and if we did, I think it would be a heavily-GOP district designed to help shore up McIntyre, Kissell, and Etheridge. I don't think they would dismantle Mel Watt's district to create a Democratic Triad district as some on here have suggested. What do you guys think?

Cary
Do they still call it Containment Area for Relocated Yankees?

28, Unenrolled, MA-08

[ Parent ]
If NC gets #14
I would think it would be focused on NC-9, which is even higher on the growth list. As far as political persuasion goes, it might be time to carve out a heavily GOP distict there in an effort to make one or more of the other GOP reps - Myrick, McHenry, Foxx, or Coble - more vulnerable to a Dem challenger.  

[ Parent ]
When I redistricted NC
I basically made a 14 district that was based in Winston-Salem. Dismantlement the snaking 12th (i think). And then made two Democratic leaning Charlotte based districts...putting Myrick in danger. Put I'm not sure if she would lose that district, considering how she overperforms substantially  

[ Parent ]
No 14th district for North Carolina
The state barely got its 13th district last time. It would take extraordinary population growth across a broader area than just RTP and Charlotte to achieve a new seat and the trends aren't there.  

[ Parent ]
A dittohead's 0.02 reaction would be..
"Americans don't want Dimmitcrats as their congressmen or (even worse), minorities are slowly (yeah...you gotta give them time) realizing that living under Demon-crat socialism welfare-ism (any other -isms out there?) ain't that sweet a liberal gravy train, is it?"

Grandmaster Beck was right "We surround them now!"

Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


This was definitely the case in CA-11 three years ago
My observations remain much the same as last year: the David Brookses of the world would look at the sheer number of exurban red districts in the fast-growing column and the number of urban blue districts in the shrinking column, and point to hundreds of years of Republican dominance as urbanites are pulling away from the teat of the welfare state and moving out to the exurbs to make a fresh start as Patio Man and Realtor Mom.

Not exactly: as the suburbs start to spread outward into these districts, bringing their annoying diversity, density, and workaday problems with them, these red districts are, for the most part, becoming Democratic. Just for a few examples, consider CA-25, which went from 59-40 for Bush to 49-48 for Obama, or NC-09, which went from 63-36 for Bush to 55-45 for McCain. In addition -- as we'll see in the next installment, where we'll focus on changes in race -- immigrants are often making the suburbs their first destination, quickly changing the complexion of the outer rings around many cities.

I served as a field coordinator with the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund in CA-11 during the 2006 midterm election. CA-11 straddles the eastern edge of the Bay Area and much of San Joaquin County, which is mostly farmland. People wrote off McNerney as unable to make a dent in San Joaquin County because it was "too conservative."

What really happened was people moving out of the cities and setting up shop in Tracy (Pombo's hometown and base) and the surrounding areas.

Pombo ended up barely winning San Joaquin County and when word of that news got to us, we knew it was over, because we ran up the score in Alameda County (McNerney's base county) and further south in Santa Clara County and took the moderate Contra Costa County, which include upper-middle class and higher tax brackets.

This change in population isn't a "white flight" of years prior. It is liberal expansion into the exurbs.


Great war story
Thank you.

[ Parent ]
I remember that campaign....
 People in the Bay Area were moving out to the Central Valley in droves looking for better housing prices. I actually helped out to defeat Pombo. I was only twelve then and it was the first political campaign I worked for. I went mostly because Pombo was trashing the environment.  He still has a presence there even though his political career appears over. The last time I went by Tracy, there were Pombo Real Estate signs.
I have one funny story from the campaign. This man we talked to did not know McNerney too well but had already told his wife not to vote for the fat guy (Pombo.) The people were friendly enough to me but maybe they wanted to polite a twelve year old.
Also, you might be able to find the Defenders of Wildlife Ads on youtube. They were pretty funny. In one of them, Abraham Lincoln takes candy from a baby. The baby's Mother is angry and thinks Lincoln is not honest. Besides hating the environment, Pombo was dishonest and Lincoln said if it were okay for Pombo to be dishonest, it was okay for him. I think it works well when organizations run ads for or against candidates on different than what the organization represents.

Another subject, people thought suburbs were booming with young Conservative families heading to mega churches. The reason is that Bush turned out Republican voters in those areas in 2000 and 2004. Gore and Kerry never bothered to campaign there but when Obama campaigned in Republican areas, he turned out the Democrats. For a Democrat to win, he or she should campaign in Democratic and Republican areas.

for more election analysis, visit  http://frogandturtle.blogspot....




17, CA-06,  


[ Parent ]
Totally right
my own anecdotal evidence to this is living in an exurb for 5 years before going off to college.  When I first moved there, there were literally two African-Americans in my grade with me seeing maybe 2-3 other non-white people total in the entire school.

By the time I left, it was radically different with there being whole posses of black kids, of asian kids, not very many Latinos, but the change was obvious.

And after doing all my redistrictings for MN (will posting a new one and probably my last one later today!) and looking at the vote totals, the exurbs are becoming more Democratic.  Although, in Minneapolis/St Paul, the suburbs are what are finally shifting drastically to the Democrats with the exurbs kind of becoming the new suburbs, so I dont know how solid of a shift this is.


[ Parent ]
Well then,
Merry Christmas to the Crisitunity household...tell us more of you're holiday calendar lol.

Population loss in VRA districts
Looking at the list of districts that have lost the most population from 2000 to 2008, it is striking that 14  of the top 25 are minority-majority districts (and an additional 2 are white majority districts represented by African-American Congressmen -- IN-7 and MN-5).  And of the 10 districts that lost the most population from 2007 to 2008, an additional 5 are minority-majority districts.  

This means that one of the challenges of re-districting will be the need to draw lines preserving these VRA districts. While it is certainly possible to do creative re-districting in places where Democrats control the process and add chunks of Republican territory to these districts, in most cases it will require the absorption of surrounding territory including suburbs that have become increasingly diverse in order to preserve the minority-majority status of the district. In places where Republicans control redistricting, this will offer them the opportunity to further cram minority/Democratic votes into overwhelmingly Democratic seats, allowing greater efficiency of Republican voters in remaining seats.

Especially in states that may lose seats (IL, LA, MI, OH, PA) this could present difficulties in drawing lines that preserve other white-majority Democratic seats - perhaps removing chunks of African-American or Latino voters from these districts, perhaps forcing some of those districts out into less diverse ex-urban areas. While these areas are trending Democratic, they will still make many of these seats much more marginal.

It will be interesting to see if these possible losses will be offset by possible addition of minority-majority seats, especially Latino seats in places like AZ, TX and central FL. (CA may lose seats overall, but internal population shifts probably will slightly increase the number of Latino majority seats there.)

This points out the utter importance of the gubernatorial and state legislative elections in 2010  - especially  since whether we hold the governor's office in places like OH, MI and PA  will help determine the make-up of Congress for the coming decade.  


Im supprised to see CA-44 change so much
I would think people would have been leaving my distrixt due to the fact that home foreclosures are so high in the Riverside portion.

What does this mean in terms of redistricting for ca-44?

20, Male, Democrat, CA-44 (home) CA-12 (college)


Increased Size
I still would like to see the size of the House increased.  You would think some of these states that continually see population losses or smaller ones that feel under-represented would bandy together to get more seats or keep the ones they have.

New England, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, The Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii.

I know, I know, but it's the Senate that over represents the smaller states.  I say increase both houses.  I like the idea from over at FiveThirtyEight:

Indeed, the better idea would be to push for a constitutional amendment not to eliminate the Senate, or even to make it exactly like the House, but to at least move it closer toward more equipopulous representation. For example, if we added another 50 senate seats, to be redistributed based on population above and beyond the guaranteed two each state already receives, that would bring it in somewhat closer proportion. We could even set an upper limit so that no state has, say, more than five as well as none having fewer than two. That would actually go some distance, however partial, toward remedying the grotesque disparities of the Senate--and yet still give smaller states a disproportionate share of the seats relative to their population shares, just not as disproportionate.

Of course, I realize that few U.S. senators, and probably no small-state senators, will want to propose such an amendment. (Likewise for state legislators from those states who would have to ratify it, barring the use of state conventions.) Such a proposal would thus likely require a constitutional convention.

That raises an idea: If the town hall protesters want to redirect their energies elsewhere, maybe they can agitate for such an amendment. Many of them claim to believe in having everyone heard, and as it is now some people--smaller and more rural and whiter citizens, it should be said--are heard disproportionately in the halls of Congress, which in part explains why we can't get health care reform in the damn first place.




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