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2008-12 Citizen Voting Age Population Update

December 24, 2013 Census Stuff No Comments

I’m gradually wading back into the annual update of Census numbers via the American Community Survey that just came out. For the sake of maintaining the bookmark I’m keeping on Harris County Population trends, here are the latest 5-year estimates covering 2008-2012 shown in contest of previous ACS releases:

         Tot. Pop. '10 (%)    Tot. Pop. '11 (%)    Tot. Pop. '12 (%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL      4,092,459           4,025,409            4,101,752
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Anglo      1,349,646 (33.0%)   1,353,868 (33.6%)    1,354,869 (33.0%)
Hispanic   1,671,540 (40.8%)   1,621,065 (40.3%)    1,671,262 (40.7%)
Afr.-Am.     754,258 (18.4%)     747,398 (18.6%)      775,085 (18.9%)
Asian        249,853  (6.1%)     246,924  (6.1%)      257,467  (6.3%)
Other         67,162  (1.6%)      56,154  (1.4%)       43,069  (1.1%)

         18+ Pop. '10 (%)     18+ Pop. '11 (%)     18+ Pop. '12 (%)
---------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL       2,944,624          2,893,717            2,956,297
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Anglo       1,085,630 (36.9%)  1,085,427 (37.5%)    1,090,375 (36.9%)
Hispanic    1,082,570 (36.7%)  1,049,076 (36.3%)    1,084,712 (36.7%)
Afr.-Am.      541,108 (18.4%)    540,203 (18.7%)      553,966 (18.7%)
Asian         194,956  (6.6%)    193,555  (6.7%)      200,401  (6.8%)
Other          40,360  (1.4%)     25,456  (0.9%)       26,843  (0.9%)

              CVAP-09 (%)         CVAP-10 (%)         CVAP-11 (%)         CVAP-12 (%)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL       2,195,535           2,230,550           2,276,903           2,328,000
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anglo       1,090,624 (49.7%)   1,051,265 (47.1%)   1,048,230 (46.0%)   1,051,533 (45.2%)
Hispanic      494,695 (22.5%)     530,490 (23.8%)     560,416 (24.6%)     590,282 (25.4%)
Afr.-Am.      481,492 (21.9%)     506,150 (22.7%)     519,122 (22.8%)     531,518 (22.8%)
Asian         106,547  (4.9%)     120,660  (5.4%)     125,733  (5.5%)     130,291  (5.6%)
Other          22,177  (1.0%)      21,985  (1.0%)      23,402  (1.0%)      24,376  (1.0%)

A lot of the obvious trends are still in motion – growing Hispanic and declining Anglo population shares key among them. But here are a few other tidbits that jump out to me:

» If you look at the Under-18 data (or simply subtract VAP from Total Pop), I come up with a group that is majority Hispanic (51.2%), with Anglo (23.1%) and Afr-Am (19.3%) populations jostling for 2nd place. Even better, 91% of those Hispanics are citizen. This suggests a lot about what the peak potential is for each demographic. If we assume the numbers are static and evenly applied (neither of which I’d do in real life), that means the high-water mark for population generation among Hispanics is clocking in at about 46% CVAP (51.2% x 91%). Barring other changes, that means you would never see a CVAP Hispanic majority in Harris County.

» Fortunately, things do change. The 18+ group of Hispanics show signs of citizenship increase, going from 45.7% citizen in the 06-10 ACS, to 50.6% in the 06-11 release, to today’s 54.4% share today. That’s a far faster increase than you’d get from 17 year olds turning one year older. Simply put, this is among the most encouraging numbers I think you’ll find here. I’m not sure how sustainable that is or what factors drive that the most. But as long as Hispanic population is growing and the rate of citizenship is growing, that’s nothing but good.

» The Asian population doesn’t have much room for growth. At least not in Harris County. The Under-18 share of population is at 5.0% and the 18+ share is at 6.8%. That has all the earmarks of a ceiling that’s been hit. Don’t say you weren’t warned. There’s still ample room for growth in faster-growing suburbs and other areas with a low starting point for Asian population. But in Harris County … not likely. That makes Houston a very odd place to read about the growing Asian population meme, if nothing else.

Fair warning: there will be more maps and data with some excellent health insurance and educational data included in the release.

2007-11 CVAP Majority Map of Harris/Ft. Bend Counties

It turns out that, back in December, I posted the new numbers from the 2007-11 American Community Survey data that shows changes in the Citizen Voting Age Population in Harris County. What I never got around to was mapping out the results. So, now that we’re on the topic of redistricting again and the fact that there is new data out is a point of that conversation, here’s me making up for lost time.


full pageGoogle Earth file

To keep tabs on what share of the population lives in each section, here’s the math on that, below. The key finding of this is that, for the first time, the majority of Harris County residents reside in Census block groups that are majority-minority.

Harris County

Share within:
Anglo: 1,099,585 (48.3%)
Hispanic: 280,445 (12.3%)
Afram: 355,725 (15.6%)
Asian: 4,715 (0.2%)
Multi: 536,480 (23.6%)

Within Multicultural:
Anglo: 171,718 (32.0%)
Hispanic: 161,174 (30.0%)
Afram: 146,177 (27.2%)
Asian: 50,373 (9.4%)

Fort Bend County

Share within:
Anglo: 155,760 (46.1%)
Hispanic: 19,115 (5.7%)
Afram: 43,005 (12.7%)
Asian: 5,520 (1.6%)
Multi: 114,440 (33.9%)

Within Multicultural:
Anglo: 36,765 (32.1%)
Hispanic: 21,625 (18.9%)
Afram: 29,210 (25.5%)
Asian: 25,430 (22.2%)

There are some subtle differences from block to block, so feel free to download the Google Earth files (06-10 map here) and kill a weekend. Here’s a snippet of SW Houston, with Westheimer as the northernmost street. The color-coding is the same style usage I’ve been using on these things (red = Anglo CVAP majority; black = Afr-Am CVAP majority; brown = Hispanic CVAP majority; green = Asian CVAP majority; yellow = Multicultural – no demographic majority)

2007-11 Citizen Voting Age Population Update

December 31, 2012 Census Stuff, feature No Comments

I missed out on commenting on the Chronicle’s coverage of the recent update on Census data. This comes from the American Community Survey’s annual rolling update to their population counts.

I’ve only scratched the surface and updated some of my counts on how the total population translates down to citizen voting age population. Here are the topline numbers now. I owe it to myself to double-check these for accuracy, but there are some interesting notes for what turns up here. These are all taken from the 5-year ACS summary.

          Tot. Pop. '10 (%)   Tot. Pop. '11 (%)
-----------------------------------------------
TOTAL     4,092,459           4,025,409
-----------------------------------------------
Anglo     1,349,646 (33.0%)   1,353,868 (33.6%)
Hispanic  1,671,540 (40.8%)   1,621,065 (40.3%)
Afr.-Am.    754,258 (18.4%)     747,398 (18.6%)
Asian       249,853  (6.1%)     246,924  (6.1%)
Other        67,162  (1.6%)      56,154  (1.4%)
            18+ Pop. '10 (%)    18+ Pop. '11 (%)
-------------------------------------------------
TOTAL      2,944,624            2,893,717
-------------------------------------------------
Anglo      1,085,630 (36.9%)    1,085,427 (37.5%)
Hispanic   1,082,570 (36.7%)    1,049,076 (36.3%)
Afr.-Am.     541,108 (18.4%)      540,203 (18.7%)
Asian        194,956  (6.6%)      193,555  (6.7%)
Other         40,360  (1.4%)       25,456  (0.9%)
           CVAP-09 (%)        CVAP-10 (%)         CVAP-11  (%)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     2,195,535          2,230,550          2,276,903
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Anglo     1,090,624 (49.7%)  1,051,265 (47.1%)  1,048,230 (46.0%)
Hispanic    494,695 (22.5%)    530,490 (23.8%)    560,416 (24.6%)
Afr.-Am.    481,492 (21.9%)    506,150 (22.7%)    519,122 (22.8%)
Asian       106,547  (4.9%)    120,660  (5.4%)    125,733  (5.5%)
Other        22,177  (1.0%)     21,985  (1.0%)     23,402  (1.0%)

Did you notice that the raw number and percentage of total and 18+ Hispanic population decreased from the ’10 counts to the ’11 counts? Keep in mind that the ACS data isn’t the same as the Census. The methodology for counts isn’t the same. But it’s still interesting to see a drop in population share. Even more interesting is that they come as the Citizen Voting Age Population rose for Hispanics in both the overall estimate and the share of the county’s population.

At some point during football games tomorrow, I’ll get around to both mapping this out, double-checking my math and digging into more granular detail. My hunch for now is that much of the change seen here may be due to methodology changes as much as actual numerical growth patterns. I’ll update as time and findings permit. Here’s the full update I did from the 2010 results, if you’re up for some comparison.

Is New Math the Future of the Census?

August 6, 2012 Census Stuff No Comments

» Washington Post: Census chief Robert Groves: We’ve got to stop counting like this

Robert Groves, on his way out the door at the Census …

“Because of the constitution, the country will always have a census,” he said in an interview Friday at his office in the bureau’s Suitland headquarters, already stripped of his personal belongings. “But how we do the census and surveys will have to change.”

Cost is a big reason. Even though it came in $1.9 billion under budget, the last census cost $13 billion, about $42 a head. The pricetag has doubled every decade since 1970.

So there’s talk of relying more and more on private databases. At the basic level, there’s something to be said for that. But once you get beyond household utilities and tax records, I’m curious where that trend leads to.

Demographic Evolution, Continued

April 26, 2012 Census Stuff No Comments

» NY Times: In Years Since the Riots, a Changed Complexion in South Central
» Guernica: South L.A., Twenty Years Later

Two good reads from two different vantage points of demographics and the LA riots of 1992. Spare time comes at a bit more of a premium with only 5 weeks left until a Primary election is conducted. But these were worth a read, along with a re-read of an older link on Compton’s Latino voters as well as another link about some demographic evolution in NYC.

UPDATE: … and, of course, the 2010 demographics of Los Angeles and Orange Counties was mapped out here. That doesn’t give you a sense of the degree of change from 1992, but its still a helpful visual. Not sure what millenium I’ll get around to a 1980-to-2010 time series of those counties, but I don’t doubt that it would be interesting to see.

Demographic Food Fight

» NY Times: At the PTA, Clashes Over Cupcakes and Culture

An interesting snapshot here of demographic change at NYC’s PS 295 Parent-Teacher Association. In particular, it seems amazing how much of the issue can be distilled into a simple doubling of the price of a cupcake.

… [I]n a neighborhood whose median household income leaped to $60,184 in 2010 from $34,878 a decade before, the change generated unexpected ire, pitting cash-short parents against volunteer bakers, and dividing a flummoxed PTA executive board, where wealthier newcomers to the school serve alongside poorer immigrants who have called the area home for years.

“A lot of people felt like they really needed to be heard on this,” recalled Dan Janzen, a mild-mannered freelance copywriter with children in first and third grades who leads the school’s development committee and devised the price increase.

One mother expressed dismay at being blindsided, while others said they were worried about those at the school without a dollar to spare. Ultimately, the PTA meeting at which the issue came to a head was adjourned without a resolution.

Such fracases are increasingly common at schools like P.S. 295, where changing demographics can cause culture clashes. PTA leaders are often caught between trying to get as much as possible from parents of means without alienating lower-income families.

Sometimes, the battles are over who should lead the PTA itself: many of the gentrifiers bring professional skills and different ideas of how to get things done, while those who improved the school enough to attract them become guardians of its traditions.

It suddenly seems quaint to think of demographic culture clashes as instances of old-guard Anglos being displaced by minorities. But it also happens in areas where the reverse is happening. And it’s not just the rednecks, bubbas, and working class stiffs that act as the foil. The multi-degreed information worker serves as a useful substitute these days.

An Inconvenient Demography

» Chron: Rice sociologist is star of Houston survey film

Kuff catches one that I missed …

David Thompson and his colleagues at ttweak are best-known for their work on the quirky “Houston – It’s Worth It” campaign, paying homage to the yawning potholes, soul-sapping humidity and all the other things that help to define the sprawling city.

But they may have found the quintessential symbol of Houston in the star of their new film, “Interesting Times: Tracking Houston’s Transformations Through 30 Years of Surveys.”

From the looks of it, Discovery Green on April 27th is the next best opportunity to catch the flick.

Kinder Institute on Houston’s Diversity

March 6, 2012 Census Stuff No Comments

» Chron: Houston region is now the most diverse in the U.S (Jeannie Kever)

More research on the local demographics …

The Houston region is now the most ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the country, surpassing New York City.

Two suburbs – Missouri City and Pearland – have become even more diverse than the city of Houston. Other suburbs aren’t far behind.

These findings are from a report released Monday by Rice University researchers, based on an analysis of census data from 1990, 2000 and 2010.

“We are a little United Nations,” Pearland Mayor Tom Reid said. “You go to one of our neighborhoods, and there will be a person from Nigeria living next to somebody from India, living next to somebody from Mexico and somebody from Louisiana.”

The report also found that while residential segregation has dropped over the past 20 years, it remains highest within the city of Houston; most suburban neighborhoods are less racially segregated.

You can dig through the Kinder Institute report here or just take in the overview video it here:

I’m curious how some other locations track with this. I’d have to think that there would be some similarities in Los Angeles, at a minimum. Obviously, some of what leads to remnant segregation of Houstonians is that you have major parts of town fully developed and that have had multiple generations living in close proximity. So it seems logical that some areas of Third Ward and River Oaks would remain as they are. And as you build up undeveloped areas around those parts of town, the pool of buyers is generally going to be more diverse. That’s why you see pockets of Hispanic neighborhoods near Katy and newer Asian home-buyers filling in the area between Alief and Sugar Land, as well as between Alief and Willowbrook Mall. The fact that there was plenty of open space to develop creates this, in other words.

How this compares to Chicago, New York, or other major cities where I’m less sure that you’ll see something comparable would be something that warrants a bit more study. If only to satisfy my curiosity. That Harris County, as a whole, has gone through a rapid pace of diversification is something that obviously fits well within my wheelhouse. For a visual, there’s always this time-series of demographic maps that I tend to rely on for making the argument easily understandable.

And as an additional reminder, there’s this snapshot of SW Harris County done with my standard-issue demographic color-coding down to the Census block level:

This, in short, shows the pattern of multicultural blocks (yellow) outside the city, but the remnant homogeneous areas within the city (red/Anglo, brown/Hispanic, black/Afr-Am). As a point of emphasis, this demonstrates that it’s not just the larger aggregates of population that are settling in different ways. Block level aggregates are generally as small as 8-12 houses. Seeing a mix of population with no distinct majority living that closely together is something we’ll definitely be seeing more of in the future.

Jillson on Demographics

» Texas Tribune: “Lone Star Tarnished” [Excerpt] (Cal Jillson)

Jillson’s conclusion …

Between 1900 and 2000, the Hispanic share of the Texas population increased from less than 5 percent to 32 percent and by 2040 is expected to be 53 percent. Bluntly, the question now is — because Hispanic income and educational attainment are lower than Anglos — does this mean that an increasingly Hispanic Texas must be poorer, less educated, and less productive? The answer, some assure, is no; especially if Hispanics, or Texas, or some combination of the two, act to improve Hispanic educational attainment. Then Hispanic productivity and income will grow, and Texas will continue to prosper. Others worry that demographic change is outrunning improvement in educational attainment. As Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter said in early 2011, “A [Hispanic] population that isn’t making enough money to fuel our economy, or ends up being a burden on the state — that is not indicative of having a higher quality of life in the future.”

Texas has two choices: It can either try to change these numbers, or it can try to change the social and economic attributes of the coming Hispanic majority. Over the first century and more of the state’s history, Texans and their political leaders took the first path; they tried to shape the racial and ethnic makeup of the state. During the coming decades, Texans and their political leaders will either commit to the second path, changing Hispanic social and economic attributes, or pay an unsustainably heavy price.

If any of this sounds familiar, its probably because former Texas demographer Steve Murdock has been laying the groundwork on this for over a decade. Heather MacDonald at City Journal offers another state’s similarities. Her’s is a more right-leaning ideological spin on the subject, but the diagnostic part isn’t terribly dissimilar.

Murdock has obviously focused a great deal on economic issues, as Jillson does with the Trib excerpt. That’s fine and well – there’s certainly good reason to devote a lot of energy to that aspect alone. But I’m curious to see what, if any, treatment is given to the rise in non-citizen population over the past 15 years and what implication that has for matters economic and beyond.

MacDonald, for her part, notes ” … small, almost entirely Latino, cities in the Los Angeles basin have been politically passive toward local governance.” In checking the three she mentions: Bell, Maywood and La Puente, all but La Puente are over 80% CVAP Hispanic with a CVAP conversion rate of under 50%. La Puente has a higher CVAP conversion rate of 61%. I know that’s my dead horse to beat, but I’ve got to think that maybe, just maybe, the connection between low rates of citizenship are worth some more study. The “civic miscarriages” that MacDonald notes aren’t necessarily unique to heavily Hispanic towns and the shell towns that seem to find innovative ways to maximize corruption with very little population at all are points that somehow go missing from the grander narrative of un-assimilated brown folk. Regardless of whose prescriptive takes you or I may favor, the broader dividing point seems to be who has the burden of assimilation – be it economic, cultural, linguistically, or merely preference in sports teams.

Jillson at least hints that the subject matter might go beyond economic with him and I’m hoping his book does. Those in power don’t typically cede it easily. And we’re obviously already seeing some of the early warning signs of shifting political fortunes. For a more national take on that, Bill King serves up a good tangent on this subject. Jillson’s upcoming book is wildly over-priced for Kindle, but it’s still a discount from the hard copy. And I’ll still download a copy.

On Uncompartmentalized Coalitions

» FW Star-Telegram: Legal wrangling over Texas redistricting misses the big story (Michael Li)

I’m way overdue in commenting on this, but better late than never. Michael’s definitely noticing much of the same thing I am with regard to some of the new challenges that demographics pose for redistricting. In his case, naturally, its from a very Metroplex-centric perspective …

This year’s big theme is the remarkable growth of the state’s Hispanic population. After all, 65 percent of Texas’ population growth over the last decade was Hispanic. Despite that, there’s a compelling argument that Hispanic voting strength is actually diminished under the new voting maps approved by the Legislature.

As powerful as that story is, there’s another equally important, but less commented upon, story in this year’s redistricting fights: the emergence of diverse multi-ethnic districts in the state’s urban areas, where historically discriminated-against minority groups have managed to achieve gains by working together.

There’s no better example of this than state Senate District 10, which Wendy Davis won in 2008 based on the support of 99 percent of African-Americans and more than 80 percent of Hispanics, plus a smaller percentage of Anglos.

Over time, this may, in fact, be the bigger story of the last decade.

As urban Texas becomes more diverse — and compartmentalized neighborhoods that are the exclusive preserve of one ethnic group disappear — more and more districts like Davis’ will emerge naturally. The competitive state House seats that have arisen in recent years in places like Irving and Grand Prairie are a product of the same phenomena.

At the day job, there’s one part of any presentation on demographics that we show that’s pretty sure to get some attention. All it is is a flip-through of the demographic majority maps for total population in Harris County from 1980 through 2010. If you view the full page and just go page by page, you get an old-school flip-book demonstrating the impact of demographic change over that span of time. There aren’t many counties in the state where a similar effect can be seen. It’s just a matter of scale depending on the county.

My previous take on the whole tangent is here. The new CVAP numbers and mapped distribution for Harris County add a few new wrinkles to the understanding – some challenging, but most re-affirming.

2006-10 Citizen Voting Age Population Update

February 11, 2012 Census Stuff, feature No Comments

Time for some new data from the Census Bureau. As stated a couple of dozen times before, the counts for citizen, voting age population (CVAP) are no rolled out on an annual basis as part of the Bureau’s American Community Survey. It’s been a little while since this came out, but I seem to be stuck in work mode for a couple of clients waiting on a district to be finalized and approved for running in. Priorities and whatnot.

Anyways, here’s the Harris County view, with the 2005-09 CVAP counts left in and the 2006-10 CVAP counts tacked on for easy comparison.

          Total Pop. (%)     18+ Pop. (%)       CVAP-09 (%)        CVAP-10 (%)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL     4,092,459          2,944,624          2,195,535          2,230,550
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anglo     1,349,646 (33.0%)  1,085,630 (36.9%)  1,090,624 (49.7%)  1,051,265 (47.1%)
Hispanic  1,671,540 (40.8%)  1,082,570 (36.7%)    494,695 (22.5%)    530,490 (23.8%)
Afr.-Am.    754,258 (18.4%)    541,108 (18.4%)    481,492 (21.9%)    506,150 (22.7%)
Asian       249,853  (6.1%)    194,956  (6.6%)    106,547  (4.9%)    120,660  (5.4%)
Other        67,162  (1.6%)     40,360  (1.4%)     22,177  (1.0%)     21,985  (1.0%)

If those seem like huge changes for one year on the two CVAP counts, there are a few things worth keeping in mind:

1. Some of this is obviously affected by natural demographic changes from the five-year period initially calculated to the new five-year period. I’m not inclined to accept that the majority of the change from the 2009 to 2010 CVAP counts is a result of true population changes.

2. An issue noted from the 2005-09 data is still relevant to keep in mind: there are datapoints from as far back as 2006 incorporated into the estimates. This post gives a fair snapshot of it. Basically, what CVAP captures something of a midpoint of the change from the 2000 Census numbers to the 2010 Census numbers. I doubt this has a huge impact on the year-to-year changes, outside of losing the 2005 datapoints in the 2005-09 CVAP data. But it’s definitely something worth checking before anyone gets too excited or too depressed over any particular change for any given column or row above.

3. The Census Bureau itself does a little bit of updating in how they calculate these estimates, so there’s bound to be a little bit of correction built into these numbers. I’m not sure how much of an impact this has on year-to-year changes. But the Bureau’s reporting of CVAP data has been an issue even beyond redistricting. I’ve not read any updates on specific changes, but I think it’s worth chalking up a not-insignificant share of the change to changing methodology.

With that, here’s the map of Harris County by Block Group, color-coded to reflect which demographic group has a majority within the block group. Standard coloring applies: red is for Anglo majority; black is for African-American majority; brown is for Hispanic majority; green is for Asian majority (this is actually a fairly new wrinkle for those keeping track at home). Yellow is for no majority, aka – multicultural.

Numbers and whatnot are included in the info window for those who want to poke, zoom, and click. Knock yourself out.


full pageGoogle Earth file for all of Southeast Texas

There’s definitely some interesting finds here. One really nice change from last year is that the data is collected with 2010 block group boundary definitions instead of those from 2000. That might not mean much for those just using a visual overview of the map below. But the change makes it easy to stack this data up against 2010 Census data.

A cursory look at some CVAP Conversion ratios shows that 52.5% of adult Hispanics in Harris County are citizen. For Asians, the countywide ratio is 64.4%. Anglos and African-Americans are 96.6% and 96.2% respectively. That’s taken straight from the ACS survey data’s count of 18+ and CVAP. Interestingly, if you look at the combined Census Tract 4214 in Gulfton (bordered by Hillcroft, Gulfton, Renwick, and Bellaire), the 2010 Census counts 6,718 18+ Hispanics and the ACS counts 1,180 Citizen and Voting Age. That’s a conversion rate of 17.6%. Welcome to Gulton, ya’ll.

If you want to look around more of the data for Harris County and see some side-by-side comparisons, the combo map page is updated with the new map. As noted, the Google Earth file includes not just Harris County, but also Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Chambers, Jefferson, and Montgomery counties. It’s fun for the entire family.

Interconnected, But Distinct

» NY Times: Asia Society Expands, East and West

Un-clogging the backlog of stuff I’ve been meaning to blog about during the past week or so, here’s one that caught my eye. And not just because it references the new Asia Society building in Houston. There’s a wonderfully valid point here about why such a thing is considered necessary …

Some may question the need for an Asia Society in an increasingly globalized world. But the society’s executives say the institution has become more essential because it can serve as the link among various constituencies.

“The world is far more interconnected today,” Mr. Chan said. “Hence the need to understand each other is greater than ever before.”

At the day job, we’ve lugged various presentations to a number of groups to talk about and demonstrate why multicultural population growth requires some new thinking in terms of how people communicate with their target audiences. The solution is never to assume uniformity (even though there can certainly be overlapping similarities in different markets). But the challenge is how to differentiate effectively when you’re confronted by diversity that’s far more fragmented today than it was before.

Asian culture is a key in the learning experience for that, since there are so many distinct cultures and nationalities that often require such differentiation. But its not just Asian populations anymore. Anyways, just article is an interesting datapoint somewhere in the vicinity of the topic. Read it and check out Houston’s facility when it opens.

Aggre-blogging: Thanksgiving Leftovers

Hope everyone had a relaxing and/or fulfilling Thanksgiving. A few leftover blog items from stuff I never got around to posting over the extended weekend.

» The Court-ordered Congressional Plan C220 is now updated on the Almanac. I opted to include the 2004 election data since it’s pretty helpful to see how the districts performed without a wave election like 2008 or 2010. Lots of interesting districts, including a few that look as if they could switch parties every two years if the plan were to remain in effect during the entire decade. It won’t, but …. For more on the legal process, including today’s episode with Attorney General Greg Abbott flailing beckoning the Supreme Court to halt the court’s plan, just read everything on Michael Li’s blog.

» Sometime this week, I’ll have a bit more to unpack on the Center for American Progress’s new report: The Path to 270. As one who does a bit of research on demographics and whatnot, I think it’s sometimes too easy to overstate the impact of demographics on elections. There’s an unmistakable trend to where they’re headed, but demographics doesn’t change in quick, sudden fits and spurts. One worthwhile point this report suggests is that 2012 will see non-white voters rise by 2 percentage points. I definitely think that’s in the ballpark of reality. What’s critical, though, isn’t how that plays nationally. It’s how that plays out in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, and other swing states that cast (or we hope to see cast) narrow Democratic majorities in Presidential years.

» NY Times: Team Obama Gears Up for 2012 … Remember Barack Obama? Yeah, well he’s running for President in 2012, too. I don’t know that there’s a great deal of new news unearthed here, but it’s a decent puff piece on the Chicago-centric view from the campaign compared to the DC-centric view of the Oval Office.

» Chron: A&M sociologist sees shift in immigration trends … another great, quick Jeannie Kever Q&A. In this instance, A&M’s Dudley Poston suggests that Chinese may overtake Mexicans among the ranks of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Not sure I see that happening, but read it and form your own opinion. This brief read over at The Atlantic about the “End of Chinatown” probably deserves equal time, though.

» National Journal: The Left Behinds … interesting reading on long-term unemployment. Michael Hirsh isn’t necessarily an economics writer, but he’s a good story-teller. So while the highlights may seem selective in the story, there’s still a lot to chew on with this read.

» One good thing finally comes from the sale of the Astros, as General Manager Ed Wade’s reign of error is over.

» One (more) bad thing happened to the Texans on Sunday, when backup QB Matt Leinart went down for the season. From my cursory viewing of the preseason play, I thought Leinart might finally prove his worth in the NFL if he had the chance. Turns out it was a bit too brief of a chance. It ought to be an interesting week to find out who our rent-a-QB is going to be. I’m a bit partial to Jeff Garcia or Trent Edwards among the names available. But there’s something to be said for Chase Clement coming in and taking over the role once played by Bucky Richardson.

» I’m not sure what to make of the world when it’s an odd-numbered year and my high school loses a playoff football game. I’m still planning the trek to JerryWorld for the championship games. Hope springs eternal that Manvel High will send a couple of members of the Klingler family to Arlington that weekend.

Toure on “Post-Racial”

» NY Times: No Such Place as ‘Post-Racial’ America (Touré)

I suspect “post-racial” was born benignly from the hope that Obama’s electoral success meant that the racial problems that have long plagued America were over. Kumbaya. Surely Obama’s victory revealed something had changed in America, but it was not a signal that we’d reached the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s mountaintop world where race no longer matters and equality has been achieved. During the Obama administration “post-racial” and “race card” and “reverse racism” have run amok like gremlins in the language, obfuscating race and making discussions about it harder. America still has so much work to do regarding race and racism and “post-racial” is only making that work harder to do. That’s why “post-racial” and its cohorts must be stopped posthaste.

I’m sure this’ll qualify as a provocative take among some. I remember a brief conversation I had the pleasure of having with Congressman Keith Ellison. I mentioned to him that I was something of a fan of his predecessor, Martin Sabo. Sabo was as white a Lutheran as you could imagine coming out of a Minnesota Congressional district, whereas Ellison was not. The Congressman went on in good detail about how Minneapolis has a pretty good track record of being something close to the “post-racial” ideal. It wasn’t just that his district elected him or that there was a diverse population that could support a non-white candidate. At it’s origin, it seems to explain some of how a Hubert Humphrey could be political successful making civil rights a signature issue.

That’s all fine and well. And there’s certainly some other datapoints that I can identify in the Minny/St. Paul metropolis. But it’s not the south, where my point of references come from. So I’m not thinking the topic of race is completely done away with just because we elected Barack Obama. There’s still discussion to be had and it’s a discussion that’s largely been avoided when not over-simiplified. Race and demographics still matter and the amount of change in each has shown that it’s not just a discussion of theory or other nebulous ideas.

The Global Neighborhood Next Door

October 30, 2011 Census Stuff No Comments

» Washington Post: The new U.S. neighborhood defined by diversity as all-white enclaves vanish

Stop me if you’ve heard this before …

John Logan, a sociologist at Brown University who coined the phrase “global neighborhoods” to describe the changes he has been studying for three decades, said the typical pattern is for Asians and Hispanics to move into white neighborhoods, paving the way for white acceptance of more blacks.

“It’s a pathway that eventually could lead to a much higher level of integration” in many parts of the country, Logan said. “There’s some self-selection. The kinds of people who don’t create barriers for Hispanics and Asians to move in as neighbors may be the kind who don’t move when African Americans move in. But the numbers are so large, it’s not like they’re unusual white Americans. They’re becoming the norm.”

“As whites are a smaller share of the population, inevitably what it means is whites are more and more going to share communities with other groups,” Logan said. “The all-white neighborhood is being re-created on the far periphery of metropolitan areas. But aside from that, it’s becoming a thing of the past.”

The article is part of the Post’s two-parter in the DC area’s instances of population integration and the segregation that remains. It’s all great reading if you’ve been following along with any interest in the blogging I’ve done on the topic.

The Post even does their own version of demographic mapping, showing pluralities by Census Tract and block group. You can search by zip code or city to get your own preferred view. I think it offers some great added insight to the demographic majority mapping that I’ve done here.

From a research tangent, I should also note that John Logan is a great source of some useful historical information. I used the data and GIS info from his MapUSA project to build the 1980 and 1990 views of the Census in my demographic majority maps.

Among the relatively unique factors that I see as differences between Harris County and a number of locations elsewhere is that it the Houston area has, at minimum, three substantial demographics. And if you focus on certain areas in the county and particularly if you include Fort Bend in the equation, that turns to four substantially-size critical masses of different demographic groups. I think you can look to a number of major urban areas for examples of three demographic groups driving this kind of change (I got around to mapping out Cook County, IL here). But so far, only the Los Angeles/Orange area of California strikes me as a better example that parallels the Houston area.

In several areas that I’ve gotten around to mapping in detail, I’m either seeing two demographic groups driving change or where any number of other demographic groups are still relatively small. Denver is one such case that I’ve blogged about.

Whatever you take away from all of that, I heartily recommend reading both parts of the Post’s overview. One point that I’ll use to transition to a focus on Houston’s southwest side in the week ahead is that the extent to which we see the level of integration reported by the Post, celebrated here and elsewhere … it doesn’t negate the reality that population concentrations still remain – either to the extent that the Post’s second part covers in African-American areas, or even in less-concentrated areas such as any number of Houston’s Hispanic or Asian population clusters. That’s certainly a dead horse I’ve been beating as redistricting professionals use integration as an excuse for creating better-performing Hispanic or Asian districts.

It may very well be that the level of integration that we see continues and makes the next decade or two much more problematic in defining communities of interest that help in shaping political districts. There are certainly some areas that are more of a challenge than others right now. But so far, the trend has been used more as an excuse than a fact.

As luck would have it, I did run a few maps of the Maryland suburbs around DC in order to get some context for this post on Langley Park’s Hispanic population. I only managed to do a CVAP map, so it doesn’t show the fullness of the multicultural area that still comes through in the more difficult CVAP filter. Just to help add a little better context, here are the counts and shares within the Multicultural areas shown in the map below. It’s not quite as strong of a 3-way demographic tug-of-war, but I believe the more expansive Total Population view should show higher levels of Hispanic population, and hence, more of the 3-way shift that you sense from reading the first part of the Post’s series. You can also see that the share of the county residing in an area with no demographic majority is quite different in each county.

Montgomery County Multicultural: (21% of CVAP)
Anglo: 49,050 (40.0%)
Hispanic: 15,385 (12.5%)
Afram: 34,620 (28.2%)
Asian: 21,029 (17.1%)

Prince George’s County Multicultural: (8% of CVAP)
Anglo: 15,215 (36.9%)
Hispanic: 4,545 (11.0%)
Afram: 17,530 (42.5%)
Asian: 2,944 (7.1%)


red = Anglo majority; black = Afr-Am majority; brown = Hispanic majority; yellow = no majority

Chart of the Day: From Citizenship to Voting

The Asian American Justice Center releases an update of their big profile of the Asian population. This chart showing the disparity of voting-eligibility and voting practice is a pretty useful snapshot for understanding how electorates come to look so different from the populations that elected officials have to represent.

If and whenever time permits, I’ll have to add creating a Texas version of this and a Harris County version of this to my to-do list. Among the differences is that I’d expect to see lower gray bars for Hispanic and possibly Asian. There are a number of indicators that suggest that Texas has more of a GOTV problem than a Voter Reg problem compared to other states.

The Other ID Missing from the Ballot Box

» Wash. Post: Virginia ballots skimp on party affiliation

The way they do it in Virginia …

Under state election law, ballots list party affiliation only for federal, statewide and General Assembly races. The idea is that omitting the party designation helps keep partisan politics out of local races.

But in reality, candidates for local offices file as Republicans and Democrats and tout party endorsements in campaign literature. By law, school board offices are nonpartisan, so those candidates must file as independents. Even so, school board candidates can and do collect and advertise party endorsements.

“That horse has already left the barn,” said Del. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun), who this year introduced a bill to list party affiliation for local races across the state. The bill died in a House subcommittee, even after it was amended to cover only Loudoun County.

“As I would go door to door during my campaigns, people will say, ‘Hey, how come there’s an R next to your name and a D next to [Sen.] Mark Herring’s name, but I have no idea what’s going on with the supervisors?’ ” Greason said. “It’s just more information. People can use it however they want to use it. Providing the information shouldn’t be a bad thing.”

Something to consider alongside the discussion of removing the option to cast a straight-party vote. I tend to favor items that help folks sort out information however they choose to. So the mythology of non-partisan races is certainly something I’m in favor of erasing.

Along those lines

Adam Harris, who left the Parker campaign in June, has not left the campaign account’s payroll. His new firm, Horizon Strategies, is getting about $2,000 a month from the Parker campaign, according to the mayor’s most recent campaign finance report.

But that doesn’t mean he’s back on Team Parker. Harris is not working on the campaign, both he and the campaign’s spokeswoman confirmed.

Instead, he’s the mayor’s liaison to the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

Of course, Houston municipal elections are non-partisan. So they say. I look forward to Neil’s reaction toward this item.

Another tangent that the Post article mentions is the timing of elections:

Martha Brissette, policy analyst for the state elections board, noted that some parts of Virginia have historically tried to distance local races from state and national politics by scheduling municipal elections in May instead of November.

“Some cities and towns now have the option to move [elections] to November,” Brissette said. “People that like them in May express concern, ‘Well, that will make them partisan.’ ”

The reason you see so many states in general – and so many southern states specifically – with the legacy of midterm-year elections, is so that the disparity in electorates and the historical drag on Southern Dem fortunes when the national party dominates the election season were things that old-school Dems sought to avoid. What I’m curious to look more into, however, is whether we’re seeing a greater divide in the shape of the electorate from year-to-year. It may be beyond my scope to do some sort of deeper historical study on the matter, but I do think there’s something to suggest this is the case in areas where we’re in the limbo phase of “minority-majority” population yet not “minority-majority” electorate. I’ve certainly got enough numbers to crunch with an election season coming to a head and block-level Census data to dive into and an update on the 5-yr American Community Survey to look forward to. So it goes somewhere deep on the to-do list.

What’s the Matter with Moore County, TX?

October 22, 2011 Census Stuff No Comments

In doing a little research around the state, Moore County turns up among the Top 5 Texas counties in terms of Asian percentage of total population (6%). The 2000 Census showed Moore County with all of 173 Asians, representing 0.9% of the county’s population. A couple of things I’ve started doing more recently that adds some context to this is to rework some of the coding that I’d done for Census Tracts and blockgroups to also work for Census blocks. In the case of smaller counties such as Moore, this is particularly helpful since even blockgroups can obfuscate entire towns and include a lot of farm land or other unpopulated areas. What makes Moore County compelling to me is that it’s a good snapshot of how being “minority majority” doesn’t really mean as much as some of the prognosticators might have thought 10-20 years ago.

Moore County Demographics

         Total Pop.        Voting Age Pop     CVAP
-------------------------|----------------|---------------
          21,904         | 14,905         | 10,885
-------------------------|----------------|---------------
Anglo      8,370 (38.2%) |  6,615 (44.4%) |  6,530 (60.0%)
Hispanic  11,542 (52.7%) |  7,014 (47.0%) |  4,015 (36.9%)
Afr-Am       287 ( 1.3%) |    218 ( 1.5%) |    114 ( 1.0%)
Asian      1,323 ( 6.0%) |    783 ( 5.3%) |     54 ( 0.5%)

The county isn’t a perfect microcosm of the state by any means: the African-American population is too low and the Asian population is too high. The CVAP conversion rates for both Hispanic and Asian populations are also skewed. In the case of the Hispanic population, the CVAP conversion shows 43% of VAP Hispanics as non-citizen (slightly above the state average of 40.2%), while the Asian CVAP conversion shows that a mere 7% of VAP Asians are non-citizen (far worse than the state average).

Politically, the county is solid Republican, having voted nearly 80% for Rick Perry and John McCain. There is one Hispanic County Commissioner from Pct. 1, which is 35% SSVR and also 80% Perry/McCain. The Commissioner was elected out of a contested 2008 GOP primary against an Anglo challenger. That alone is enough to muddle much of the understanding we get from more urban and suburban counties.

Turnout differentials are a big part of the high GOP vote. Precinct 402 encompasses much of the town of Cactus. It is 88% Spanish Surname Voters Registered and has 593 registered voters out of a total population of over 3,400. Turnout was a mere 12% in 2010 and 35% in 2008. The precinct voted 66% for Bill White and 72% for Barack Obama. Precinct 202, on the other hand, is 14% SSVR and has 2,050 registered voters out of a total population of 2,746. Turnout was 49% in 2010 and 68% in 2008. The precinct voted 83% for Perry and 87% for McCain. Theoretically, if you’re looking for a location where Voter Registration and GOTV work can make a substantial impact on the electorate, Moore County would be a very cost-effective place to do a field test. There are less than 10,000 registered voters in the entire county.

Demographically, the town may have a bit more history worth diving into, as a 2007 Washington Post article refers to two time periods that suggest: a) that the county’s immigrant population was cut by an ICE raid at the local Swift meat packing plant that employs much of the town of Cactus, and b) the Vietnamese population that seems low in the 2000 Census counts may be an anomaly since they note an initial migration to the area in the 1970s. That the town’s largest landowner is Vietnamese is pretty suggestive of that earlier migration, also.

Indeed, the town of Cactus (home of the Swift plant) registers as 19% Asian and 74% Hispanic as of the 2010 Census. The demographic majority map covering just Cactus looks as follows. Again, standard color-coding applies, with brown being Hispanic majority, red being Anglo majority, yellow being no majority, and the more recent addition of green being Asian majority.

In terms of a Kansas-esque meaning of all of this, I’ve always hated the stereotypical logic that people vote against their economic self-interest and that something should be done about that. So, title of the post aside, I’m not sure there’s a grand political theory that illuminates the challenge of what it takes to see a location such as Moore County vote any other way. While there may certainly be room for Voter Registration and GOTV work to make up some of the difference, the fact that the county is relatively isolated probably makes such work a non-starter.

But looking at the factors that take a “minority majority” area from something that would conceivably offer hope to Democrats to a reality that votes 80% Republican is something worth closer attention. Demographics may ultimately point toward a destiny, but demographics alone aren’t destiny. I’ve probably beaten a dead horse over the fact that citizenship rates now are substantially lower than they have been in the past and that understanding should certainly add some skepticism that just because there’s a lot of Hispanics in a district, that doesn’t mean it’s a “Hispanic district”.

Electorates are now further removed from the overall population in terms of their demographic and voting-preference makeup. And even those electorates can now be expected to behave quite differently depending on when the election is. The differences seen in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 should serve as examples of this. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing – or even whether it’s something worth fixing or appreciating – I leave to you to decide. But, if nothing else, it may be time to replace the anticipation of “minority majority” status with something else.

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Today, I’m off to settle into a new workspace and a temporary residence in order to work with my new State Representative, Gene Wu, in Austin. Before anyone thinks to call, comment, or text about how exciting any of that is, you should be reminded that I was raised to loathe all things Austin. While [...]

2007-11 Citizen Voting Age Population Update

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