In the wake of the Census Bureau releasing 2007 American Community Survey data by Congressional district, it's time for another demographic data dump. (I previously wrote about population change here.) Today, let's take a look at income and poverty numbers.
As with the population numbers, it's more interesting to look at the change from 2000 to 2007, rather than simply asking who's on top and who's on bottom. VA-11 is always going to be wealthy; NY-16 is always going to be obscenely poor. Looking at change, however, provides some interesting insight into what districts are hurting more or less than before, and thus where economic-themed messaging might play best.
As you can see by many of the same districts showing up in each category, income and poverty correlate pretty closely. I'm including both median household income and per capita income since those can give very different results. They tend to vary depending on household size; PCI tends to be highest in affluent downtown districts with a lot of single-family households, while MHI is highest in suburban/exurban areas where people earn a lot but households full of kids drag down the PCI numbers.
Let's start with biggest gains in median household income:
Now for the smallest gains (or drops) in median household income:
We're getting into Dickensian tale-of-two-districts territory here, as you can see the rich districts getting richer (basically confined to the New York, Washington, and Los Angeles areas). The only surprise, to me, is CA-44, which is out in the Inland Empire and is seeing a lot of Latino growth. Apparently it's also seeing a lot of growth of upscale subdivisions on its remaining patches of empty buildable ground.
Likewise, we're seeing the poor getting poorer, as working-class blue-collar districts that have escaped the worst of urban poverty (like MI-14 and IL-02) slowly slide into poverty with the loss of manufacturing jobs. The main surprise (and only Republican held district) is TX-24, the suburban area around DFW airport, which is seeing a lot of Latino growth and white flight to the exurbs.
VA-11 has the highest MHI in both 2000 and 2007, followed by NJ-11. VA-10 (which was #12 in 2000), CA-14, and VA-08 (which was #28 in 2000) round out 2007's Top 5, while CA-14, CA-15 (which fell to #16 in 2007), and NJ-07 round out 2000's Top 5.
The lowest MHI for both 2000 and 2007 was in NY-16, followed by KY-05. In 2000, the bottom 5 also included WV-03, CA-31, and AL-07, while in 2007, several of the biggest plungers joined the bottom 5 (NC-01 and MI-13), along with MS-02.
Now let's turn to per capita income, starting with the biggest gains:
Van Hollen (D)
And here are the smallest gains:
These results show even more clearly the hit taken by Rust Belt inner cities, and in fact almost the entire Detroit area. The one surprise is another suburban GOP stronghold (for now): GA-07 in Gwinnett County, which is another area that's increasingly becoming a first stop for immigrants of all nationalities, and a prime source of white flight to other burbs. (TX-09 seems to appear on these lists because it absorbed a large portion of New Orleans' most impoverished residents.)
NY-14, followed by CA-30, had the highest PCI in both 2000 and 2007. The top 5 in 2000 also included CA-14, CT-04, and NY-08, while the top 5 in 2007 was rounded out with NY-08, CT-04, and VA-08.
The lowest PCI in both 2000 and 2007 was in NY-16, followed by CA-20 and TX-15. The bottom 5 in 2000 also included CA-31 and CA-34, while the bottom 5 in 2007 also included TX-29 and CA-34. Note that these lists are quite different from the bottom 5 in MHI; again, that tends to be a factor of household size. Here, the bottom 5 are all heavily Latino districts, where household size tends to be larger than the rural white or black districts that have the lowest MHIs.
Now let's look at the highest poverty percentage changes:
Finally, let's look at lowest poverty percentage changes:
Again, these numbers show Michigan taking a pounding, as well as other Rust Belt cities. Maybe most noteworthy, we've come across our first competitive race in an economically distressed area: OH-15, in downtown Columbus. (One other district catching my eye was CO-07 in the Denver suburbs, where I would guess there's a lot of Latino growth.) The last set of numbers actually shows something good: a large reduction in poverty rates in mostly-Latino districts, especially in the Los Angeles area but in New York as well.
The most impoverished district in both 2000 and 2007 is NY-16 (despite its improvement over the years). In 2000, it was followed by CA-20 (which fell to #10 in 2007), NY-15 (which fell to #15 in 2007), TX-15, and CA-31. In 2007, it was followed by MI-13 (up from #20 in 2000), TX-15, PA-01, and TX-16 (up from #24 in 2000).
The least impoverished districts in 2000 were CO-06, IL-13, WI-05, NJ-07, and NJ-11. In 2007, that list changed to NJ-07, NJ-11, NJ-05, NY-03, and CA-42.