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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Census Analysis

At the Rose Institute, Doug Johnson writes:

The 2010 apportionment of Congressional districts among the 50 states is brings Western states’ gains to 26 Congressional seats since the 1970s, with the South picking up 27. The Northeast has now lost 26 seats and the Midwest 27 over the same period. The disparity in population growth will significantly alter the makeup of the House of Representatives. In the 1970s, the Midwest and Northeast together made up 52% of Congress. After 2010, they will hold only 40% of the seats. The Northeast alone held 104 seats in the 1970s, but that number is now down to 78.
At the Washington Examiner, Timothy Carney writes:

D.C. congressional representation was a possibility last decade, in part because of a proposed compromise that pleased Republicans: we increase the chamber from 435 seats to 437; D.C. would get one seat, and overwhelmingly Republican Utah would get another.

Now this wasn't just arbitrary, and Utah wasn't chosen just for being the most Republican state in the country. Utah spent last decade as the "First Loser" in the reapportionment lottery. The state just barely missed out on getting a fourth seat. Put another way, a fourth Utah seat was the 436th seat according to the reapportionment formula.

But Democrats blew up statehood over gun rights last Congress. Then Republicans took over the House. D.C. representation was basically dead for now, and the reapportionment makes it even more dead.

Utah got its fourth seat. The 436th seat this decade is North Carolina -- it just missed out on gaining a seat. Who knows if that seat would have been a Republican or Democratic seat? But we know this: it's not a good counterweight to a 100% liberal Democratic D.C. seat; and it's nothing like a 4th seat in Utah, the most Republican state in the country.

The New York Times reports:

On the surface, Republicans would seem to have an overwhelming advantage. Most of the states gaining seats trend Republican, and most of those losing them tend to elect Democrats. What is more, Republicans will be well-placed to steer the process, with Republican governors outnumbering Democratic ones 29 to 20, with one independent, come January.
“Republicans are in the best position since modern redistricting began,” said Tim Storey, an expert on redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Of the 336 districts whose borders are drawn by state legislatures, Republicans have full control of 196, Mr. Storey said. Democrats control legislatures for 49; a further 91 are split. The rest would be drawn by divided legislatures or appointed commissions.
But population gains in the South and West were driven overwhelmingly by members of minorities, particularly Hispanics. The new districts will need to be drawn to reflect their numbers, opening potential advantages for Democrats.
In Texas, for example, more than 85 percent of the population growth has been minority, according to Kenneth Johnson, a demographer at the University of New Hampshire. And even though Republicans control every statewide elected office and both chambers of the legislature, state Republican officials concede that the district lines will most likely be drawn so Democrats are in position to win as many as two of the new seats.