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Three More Views of Harris County Demographics

Three visualizations of Harris County demographics that pivot from the broadest, overall view to one that reflects more of the political reality. The first is a repeat of the map I ran yesterday.

Total Population:

18+ Population:

Citizen Voting Age Population:

If you want to dig into the details, here's the link for a side-by-side map view that lets you choose which two maps you want to compare. The default is Total Population (left) and CVAP (right). For good measure, I've also got a version of the side-by-sides for Fort Bend County, also. By all means, poke around.

The grand total numbers, so you can see the aggregated total is as follows:

            Total Pop. (%)      18+ Pop. (%)            CVAP (%)
TOTAL       4,092,459            2,944,624             2,195,535
Anglo       1,349,646 (33.0%)    1,085,630 (36.9%)     1,090,624 (49.7%)
Hispanic    1,671,540 (40.8%)    1,082,570 (36.7%)       494,695 (22.5%)
Afr.-Am.      754,258 (18.4%)      541,108 (18.4%)       481,492 (21.9%)
Asian         249,853  (6.1%)      194,956  (6.6%)       106,547  (4.9%)
Other          67,162  (1.6%)       40,360  (1.4%)        22,177  (1.0%)


The CVAP numbers are going to get very interesting this time around. In the last Census, citizenship was asked on the regular Census form - the one that got asked of 100% of people (give or take) one in six Census surveys. This time around, the question was not on the Census form, but it was on the Census bureau's American Community Survey questionnaire. That is essentially a 2.5% sample that's used to get a number that also has a +/- margin of error. So that's how you get the statistical anomaly of Anglos in Harris County gaining nearly 5,000 people after backing out citizens from the 18+ universe. In areas that are undergoing significant demographic change, the measurement also uses datapoints from the middle of the decade. As we saw in the Pulaski County, Arkansas example ... it understates the current reflection of demographic change.

The bad news is that CVAP data is required as part of the Voting Rights Act. As an example of it's uses, it is designed to show that a majority-Hispanic district does not lose enough voting strength for Hispanics to elect a candidate of their choosing. That's the point that commenter Mainstream has been berating me for since delving into demographics and redistricting.

I'm not yet to the point of looking for more info on how the Census vs ACS matter might be resolved, but it's pretty clear that other people have spotted this glitch and I can't imagine that the Justice Dep't will be completely flat-footed on it. In September of last year, David Hanna of the Texas Legislative Council noted some of the issues that may come up as a result of it with the Senate Redistricting Committee. So it's at least on the radar, along with all of the other redistricting laws, rules, customs, and guidelines that sometimes conflict.

As a sidenote and interesting algebra crunch from the data above, here's what the Under-18 population looks like in Harris County:

            >18 Pop. (%)
TOTAL       1,147,835  
Anglo        264,016 (23.0%)
Hispanic     588,970 (51.3%)
Afr.-Am.     213,150 (18.6%)
Asian         54,897  (4.8%)
Other         26,802  (2.3%)


Meet your future, folks. Those younguns are more likely to be voter-eligible when they grow up.

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Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I believe the citizenship question was asked only on the old “long form” census questionnaire that was received by one in six households. Citizenship was never part of the initial redistricting numbers but was released later with the “STF-3” data, which included the various socio-economic numbers released at the block group level.

    Essentially all of those “long-form” questions, including citizenship status, are being handled through the American Community Survey (ACS) and I would guess, then, that those numbers might be released at the end of the year in the normal ACS release cycle.

  2. I stand corrected … I do recall reading that the previous methodology was 1-in-6 on the Census process rather than on 100% of the questionnaires.

    The ACS data on citizenship is already out and the CVAP numbers were released in a much more timely manner this time around. In the past, they usually came in after many states already had their maps created. This time, they’re already out for all states now.

  3. But I believe the CVAP numbers recently released were in terms of 2000 geography, not the new 2010 geography, meaning they aren’t in a form to be directly applied to the redistricting data.

  4. The data matches the 2000 Census Tracts and Block Groups. I don’t see individual block-level data in there. Also, there seems to be some minor discrepancies in the counts for legislative districts. I’m guessing that they are using the block groups to get a best guess at the population counts for districts.

    What that means for the stuff I’m doing is that instead of matching data on the Census tract number, I have to be sure to combine 2010 tracts like 2230-01 and 2230-02 in order to compare them to the 2000 Census tract 2230. There are a few that have completely different numbers, but they’re pretty rare from what I’m seeing in Harris County.

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