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On the Legal Round of Redistricting …

I'm opting to leave the field to Michael Li on the bulk of this topic since he's doing some ace coverage of redistricting as it goes through the courts. But there's one point I'll make for the time being that I think may bear some attention during all of this.

First things first, some backgorund reading. I think if you only want/need/are forced to read only one legal document on redistricting this year, it should be the San Antonio court's explanation of how they came about their State House map:

What's of particular interest to me in that document is how they treat minority coalition districts. Those type of districts have been falling out of legal favor as increasingly Republican judiciaries have chipped away at different aspects of the Voting Rights Act. As Michael Li offers in a backgrounder:

This issue lies perhaps at the crux of the dispute about whether more minority opportunity districts must be created under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

In Bartlett v. Strickland, the Supreme Court held that additional minority opportunity districts do not need to be created under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act until a minority group’s voting age population in a given region passes 50%. However, the Strickland case involved an area of the country (North Carolina) where at the time Anglos and African-Americans were the only two major ethnic groups. What the case left undecided is whether in a tri-ethnic society like Texas, African-Americans and Hispanics can be aggregated for purposes of the 50% threshold.

The plaintiffs contend that Fifth Circuit case law clearly allows such aggregation where, as they argue is the case in Texas, the two minority groups vote cohesively, at least in general elections.

The state argues that such coalition districts are merely a variant of the Anglo majority ‘minority influence districts’ it contends have been disfavored by courts and would inject politics into the redistricting process.

As the San Antonio court describes the State House map, however, they take issue with the word "create." They do, however, leave intact districts such as HD149 and HD26 which were both points of dispute and where each district had been either re-sliced or fully eliminated in a manner that reduced the ability of minorities to have an impact on the outcome of the election. In each of those two particular districts, the demographic dynamics are either three or four distinct minority groups and each of the districts were drawn to be electorally competitive. HD54 in Killeen is similar in that it was drawn in a way that it is electorally competitive and there are essentially three demographic groups at work within that district.

The explanation offered by the court is that it did not "create" these districts. Instead, they explain, they looked at the 2001 version of the map (drawn by the GOP-controlled Legislative Redistricting Board), the 2011 legislatively passed map, and sought to repair the dispute by making those districts more compact and drawn in a way that did not undo their present minority coalition status. That's not quite the same as "create", but it's a point that will be interesting to see how the Republican-controlled US Supreme Court handles that question.

The reason I think this has potential for something big is this: the Texas Attorney General is essentially crying foul whenever there is an unfavorable district that happens to be under 50% Anglo. The Voting Rights Act doesn't necessarily require a minority district to be 50% African-American or Hispanic, but the reality is that African-American politicians are getting increasingly nervous as they see their districts have a higher total population of Hispanics despite their district still having a CVAP population that is close to 50% African-American. Hispanic districts are the toughest nut of them all, with citizenship leading to very different needs in how Hispanic districts in Dallas and Houston are composed, versus those in San Antonio or South Texas.

But the takeaway from all of this - to me, at least - is that we now live in a world where at least more and more urban areas are becoming increasingly integrated in terms of demographics. That leads us to a relatively new phenomenon. While there still exist concentrated clusters of individual demographic groups, we are seeing a critical mass develop where more multicultural areas are seen down to the Census block level. A case in point from southwest Harris County:

That's the same standard color scheme used for all of the other demographic majority maps: red is majority Anglo; black is majority African-American; orange is majority Hispanic; green is majority Asian; and yellow is where there is no majority at all.

If the view in creating politically-driven districts is that you have to have 50% of something, then there's an increasing amount of the world where we live in that this view ignores. What do you draw in Alief? What do you draw in Sharpstown? What do you draw in Sugar Land? What do you draw in Mission Bend?

To be sure, that's not to suggest that the majority of America is like that now. Nor do I expect it to be over the course of this decade. But the phenomenon is seen in more and more locations where you have three or four distinct demographic groups defining a community of interest.

I'm not naive enough to think that this particular Supreme Court will go so far as to outline a protected status for minority-coalition areas such as these. But the San Antonio court's logic offers an interesting possibility of how they may be able to defend themselves from the more partisan cross-currents that insist on these areas being drawn majority-something. It's likely a smarter bet that the Supreme Court may strike down Section 5 (if not the VRA in its entirety) at some point this decade and leave everything up for partisan spoils. But even if it comes to that, I don't see the issue of voting rights being legislated in some variety going away entirely.

All of this, of course, reminds me to get back on track mapping out the rest of the county down to the block level and maybe even get around to adding Fort Bend to the mix of that task. In the meantime, happy reading of the San Antonio court's explanation. Here's a sampling if you still need any convincing ...

The dissent also wrongly alleges that the interim map "creates" coalition districts that are not required by the Voting Rights Act. Once again, the dissent misstates the Court's approach to drawing the interim map. This Court has not made any merits determinations as to whether coalition districts are required under the Voting Rights Act. Rather, like the minority opportunity districts discussed above, when these districts were restored to their baseline configuration and population shifts were taken into account, these districts resulted quite naturally.

For example, House District 26, situated in Fort Bend County to the southwest of Houston, increased from 44 percent minority population to 60.6 percent minority in 2010. The image below shows that the enacted plan substantially reconfigured HD26 in a way that made it irregularly shaped. Evidence presented at trial indicates that this reconfiguration may have been an attempt by the State to intentionally dismantle an emerging minority district. As the images below demonstrate, the interim plan attempts to take this district back to its original configuration in the benchmark while making slight adjustments for population changes.

The dissent's incorporation of the State's bizarrely shaped House District 26, despite alleged constitutional violations, constitutes an improper merits determination regarding the validity of that claim. In contrast, the Court's decision to return the challenged district to its original configuration is simply a method of preserving the status quo until the D.C. Court has made a preclearance determination.


Increasingly Improving Almanac Update

An update of sorts on the Almanac project ...

- Unless I've gone totally bleary-eyed in the midst of updating wiki pages and/or just flat-out missed a few, I believe all 150 State Rep districts now have updated election results from 2002 to 2010. I owe it to myself to do a full run-through to check for gaps. But I believe the entire thing should now have every election district (Congress, SBOE, Senate, House) done similarly. Take it from me, running through 150 State Rep districts on my own is a chore. Time to look into getting an intern. If you happen to spot a page missing any election data, let me know. Otherwise, I'll be far beyond happy to know that they're all completed.

And just in time to change the districts and load up 2008 and 2010 data for each of those.

- About those new maps: it looks like DOJ is prodding the San Antonio court to not use the State's maps as part of any interim redistricting plans. Can't wait to see how this all ends up.

- Aside from a couple of minor, stylistic changes, like making the SBOE election data for 2002 to 2008 consistent with how I do all the other election return tables, I'm hoping to get some district writeups added to the whole thing. I'm not about to think that I can do 232 district profiles in a timely manner during my free time. But I do hope to cover the Houston area fully and as many competitive districts or districts with high-profile electeds as much as possible. A decent go-by example is the work done for CD29 (and a few other CDs). Those were written prior to the 2010 election, so there's some updating to be done to account for changes in that election (such as this). As always, if you care to contribute, feel free to register and start writing.

- As part of this aspect, I'm in full scavenger mode for any old Almanac of American Politics since the district profiles there are pretty much what I've grown up reading. Ideally, if anyone has a spare copy of issues that predate 2002, I'd love to borrow them. Anything after that is too much of a chore to read as Barone's recent turn toward ideological cheerleader adds too much laughter and eyerolling to endure for meaningful study. Optimally, anything from the 80s and 90s is good. I'm already turning my place upside down for my '86 and '88 copies to no avail. Next time I ditch bookshelves for putting the library in storage boxes, I truly need an intervention.

- With a little luck, I'll also be able to get around to the Top 15 or 20 county profiles. The pre-2010 version of Harris County is a good place to start. There's enough demographic data that I've been spilling onto the blog that also needs to find a home in the Almanac.


The Global Neighborhood Next Door

» 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.


Addendum from an 80-20 PAC Presentation

To those of you who might have witnessed a presentation given at the Houston 80-20 PAC dinner Sunday night, the links below should help send you deeper down the rabbit hole of maps and demographics. It's always a pleasure to hang with one of my favorite local political groups and the interest in demographics by several of the folks at 80-20 events is always a relief. Enjoy the further reading and if there are other areas of interest that you'd like me to look into, I'm usually game for learning a little more about my favorite part of the world.

- This post on Asian population by Houston-area neighborhood is the basis for the neighborhood-by-neighborhood number crunching. For some further reading on how Alief's population (Asian and otherwise) is expected to change over the years, this may be some interesting reading. For some further reading on a part of the state that ranks 5th in terms of Asian population share, here's an intro to Moore County, which is north of Amarillo.

- The big spaghetti-mess of an image that I talked about is the one below (click to enlarge). Its a block-level view of the maps done here (and the interactive/comparison views here) at the block group level. This update just takes things to a more granular level and reveals some interesting differences in southwest Houston and Alief from other parts of the county. I'll talk about this more tomorrow in a separate blog post. For now ... enjoy the sneak peak.

The color-coding is as follows: red represents an Anglo majority within the block; brown, a Hispanic majority; black, an African-American majority; green, an Asian majority; and yellow means that there is no majority. I've made a few tweaks to the code that generates this, so a few quirks are being ironed out and I may have something for more interactive viewing tomorrow.

- It occurs to me that I never bothered to break out the full Asian nationality breakdown here on the blog, so here's that:

Harris County

Total Asian Population - 256,862
Vietnamese      87,693  (34.1%)
Indian          48,184  (18.8%)
Chinese         42,244  (16.4%)
Filipino        17,045  ( 6.6%)
Pakistani       16,821  ( 6.5%)
Korean          12,829  ( 5.0%)
Cambodian        4,118  ( 1.6%)
Japanese         4,022  ( 1.6%)
Taiwanese        3,715  ( 1.4%)
Bangladeshi      3,038  ( 1.2%)
Thai             2,865  ( 1.1%)
Laotian          1,846  ( 0.7%)
Indonesian         597  ( 0.2%)
Malaysian          587  ( 0.2%)
Sri Lankan         500  ( 0.2%)
Other Asian     10,758  ( 4.2%)

Fort Bend County

Total Asian Population - 101,213
Indian          37,318 (36.9%)
Chinese         22,481 (22.2%)
Vietnamese      15,517 (15.3%)
Filipino         9,218 ( 9.1%)
Pakistani        7,219 ( 7.1%)
Korean           3,179 ( 3.1%)
Japanese           779 ( 0.8%)
Malaysian          722 ( 0.7%)
Taiwanese          676 ( 0.7%)
Thai               252 ( 0.2%)
Indonesian         243 ( 0.2%)
Bangladeshi        190 ( 0.2%)
Cambodian          111 ( 0.1%)
Other            3,308 ( 3.3%)


投票在这里 (Vote Here)

Harris County looks like it's set for adding Chinese to the ballot now. Waiting to hear back on whether this means it'll need to be in place for November or if it waits until the 2012 cycle.


Leaving Alabama

» NY Times: After Ruling, Hispanics Flee an Alabama Town
» Wash. Post: A tough new Alabama law targets illegal immigrants and sends families fleeing

Two similar stories on the heels of the Alabama immigration law being upheld, both worth a read. For those in need of some quick stats to go along with the read, The Post primarily covers Foley (located between Mobile & Pensacola on the gulf) while the NYT sticks to Albertville (inland, between Gadsden and Huntsville). Foley is about 9% Hispanic (out of a population >14k) while Albertville is 28% Hispanic (out of >21k total).

In both cases, the situation strikes me as somewhat parallel to a lot of other small town explosions in Hispanic population. In the early phase of this migration pattern, this type of growth used to be something of a "Des Moines phenomenon" ... places (like Des Moines) that weren't accustomed to seeing a natural pocket of Hispanic population in decades past suddenly getting an influx of them. Now the phenomenon is geographically broader than a few isolated examples. Closer to home in Texas, Smith & Gregg Counties (Tyler & Longview) are about 17-18% Hispanic. East Texas counties such as Shelby (16%) and Rusk (14%), just to throw two more random examples into the mix are seeing the same thing. And when you compare the CVAP population to the ACS's VAP, the ratios are particularly low. So it's not for nothing that the local rednecks - and I have kinfolk from Shelby County, so I can call them that - in various state legislatures are raising their alarm over illegal immigration in recent years.

I, or anyone else in the world, can argue to the high heavens about whether their animus ought to be with the employers in their area who are luring the workers in and hiring undocumented workers. Whether an old and aging small town wishes to have a thriving business or just another abandoned building or nursing home may be more fodder for absolutely wonderful conversation. But the folks in areas such as these are definitely seeing something new for the very first time and laws such as the ones in Alabama and Arizona are the end result of it.

From at least one angle of the bigger picture of all of this, I'm curious to see what the impact of laws such as this have on re-shuffling Hispanic population on a broader scale. If nothing else, it's a point to chalk up as another reason to think that the type of demographic change we saw in the last decade won't necessarily be matched in the current decade. Birth and death rates still nudge some gravity toward increased Hispanic population shares. But the impact of laws such as Alabama's and the overall slowdown in international migration don't seem ready to amplify that shift as it did during the last decade.

One final parallel that might be worth making from the Post's version of the tale:

William Lawrence, the principal of Foley Elementary School, said frightened immigrant families withdrew 25 students last week, even though all the children were U.S. citizens. He said the Hispanic community was swept by rumors that parents would be arrested when they came to collect their children. Many families asked teachers and others to act as their children’s emergency drivers or legal guardians.

“We are doing all we can to reassure parents that their kids are safe, and things have calmed down some, but this was extremely wrong,” Lawrence said. “I hope our lawmakers did not do it deliberately. They won, because now people are leaving. But there is no reason to create such terrible fear of parents being separated from their children.”

Compare that to Ben Smith's observation from a recent panel discussion:

I participated in a panel on the topic of the Hispanic vote at Advertising Week in New York yesterday, and was struck by two items in the remarks by the pollsters and Latino politics on the panel: That immigration isn't the top issue for Hispanic voters ("I don't care about immigration," Univision executive Chiqui Cartagena announced), and that Hispanic voters are intensely sensitive to rhetoric -- more, in the view of some, than policy -- that comes off as bigoted or as playing to bigots.

As a general rule, it strikes me as unwise to reduce the matter to thinking that Hispanics tilt in favor of (or at least more neutrally toward) illegal immigration. My own experience instructs me that views toward immigration are far more complex among the audience sample that's in my network. But that complexity cuts two ways, as Smith's point touches on. In other words, just because there may not be a sizable share of Hispanic voters who sympathize with illegal immigrants, they're still likely to know when a bigot is just being a bigot and not respond sympathetically to that either.

So it's still a game of chicken that the GOP seems to want to play with Hispanic voters. It may not be quite as cut-and-dried as your garden variety hot button issue. But it's still a game of chicken. After all, it's not the undocumented population that can't vote that they're scaring off ... it's the legal, been here for a long time, and voting share of the Hispanic population. And that share is still going to grow over time.


Gulfton North?

» Wash. Post: In Langley Park, Purple Line brings promise, and fears, of change

Something about this sounds familiar ...

People here represent more than 40 countries and speak dozens of languages. Nearly 80 percent are Hispanic, according to the census.

“It is so amazing the diversity that we have here,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA of Maryland, the state’s largest Latino advocacy group, based in Langley Park. “There’s a sense of neighborhood, a sense of community.”

Here, people are constantly crossing the busy roads and huddling to wait for buses. In the parking lots of some commercial plazas, men in construction gear wait for someone to drive by with an offer of a day job. People from all over come to shop for ethnic food.

My goodness, it's the Maryland equivalent to Gulfton! There's even some quality reporting on the neiborhood value of taco trucks ...

Some things have changed here in the past few years. The vendors that used to be on just about every corner selling traditional Latino meals such as pupusas (a traditional Salvadoran dish of corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, pork, refried beans or a combination) are gone.

They left after a police crackdown following an outbreak of violence in 2007. A handful of people still sell food, either out of shopping carts or, like Martinez, from their homes.

“When the [food] trucks were there, almost every truck had some people around it,” recalls William Hanna, a professor with the University of Maryland’s Urban Studies and Planning Department, who has been studying Langley Park for more than a decade. “They served as center places for socialization. And the streets were lively. There was a lot of people just hanging out.”

Now, the enforcement of a law banning the trucks has “cut the heart of the socialization,” Hanna said.

In standard news reporting operating procedure, there is "conflict" in this story. And in this case, it has to do with the planned extension of the DC Metro rail line into Langley Park and plans (or potential) for redevelopment in the area. From my few cursory glances at the Maryland side of DC, the real estate values are certainly higher than I'm accustomed to, but they do seem to be on par with many suburban areas. In comparing Langley Park to Silver Spring, however, the differences don't seem quite that stark despite Silver Spring having gone through a fair amount of redevelopment in recent years. My very rough ballpark analysis is that it's a difference of average rent being around $1000-1200 in Langley Park and in the vicinity of $1400-1800 in Silver Spring. And in the case of Langley Park, I don't see too many examples of places that are at risk of being torn down if a developer wants to remake something for a wealthier slice of the population. So any displacement, I would think, would be minimal or at least slow to evolve. But still ... that's the nature of the conflict that the story seems to point toward.

While a quick demographic check of the area does indicate a fair share of Hispanic population in the area, its worth noting that the amount of real estate is fairly small. For whatever reason, I ran a CVAP view of the area instead of a Total Population view of it. But at that level, there are three blockgroups that have a Hispanic majority. Those are surrounded by three block groups with no demographic majority and one with an African-American majority. Each of those that surrounds the three Hispanic majority block groups has a sizable population share of Hispanics, so it wouldn't be surprising to see several of the surrounding block groups have a Hispanic majority when counting Total Population.

The article goes on to quote an African-American county official from the immediately adjacent Montgomery County:

In the long run, the Purple Line will bring new investment to the area and new clients for the small businesses in the corridor, said Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring), who represents the eastern part of the county that borders Langley Park.

“My perspective on this is that if you don’t redevelop that area, it will never improve,” Ervin said. “I believe that all the residents of Langley Park deserve to have a beautiful community with amenities, with walkability and nice bike trails and parks, and all these things come with redevelopment.”

... but no word from the Prince George County elected official who happens to be Hispanic. Since it may or may not be that the Hispanic presence in the area and the differences it has from surrounding neighborhoods is at risk in redevelopment, the lack of any quote from the Pr. George elected official seems to be a genuine lacking of this story.

What's also not given enough detail in the story is what exactly it is that needs to "improve." The article does reference this story from 2007 in regard to the scarcity of food trucks. But there's not much else mentioned.

My own interest in this story is that Maryland is currently contesting a statewide referendum on the recently enacted Dream Act in the state. If it does come to a vote, it will be interesting to see where the law is lacking in public support. It wouldn't surprise me to see many African-American areas as unsupportive of the law. And that makes this yet another case study of how the Democratic Party's coalition is at risk as elected officials struggle to pass laws that don't necessarily speak to the entirety of the coalition. I think you see the same thing when you have wealthy suburban areas represented by Anglo Democrats more resistant to tax hikes on high earners despite such taxes polling well among Democrats as a whole. One of the points that a panelist made at the Hobby Conference here in town a few weeks ago was why Democrats were so quick to defend Social Security despite the fact that they were losing the votes of the people most reliant upon it at the same time that younger voters were more likely to see the value of alternatives to the program.

I don't put that forth with any hope of offering an immediate solution to all that ails the Democratic Party. I think it'll be a challenge that plays out in a lot of different ways and in different ways to different parts of the party's coalition. In other words: we'll see.

ADD-ON: As a first step toward being all "completist" on the topic, here's the result of the CVAP majority mapping done in the two-county region that includes Langley Park. As mentioned previously, a Total Population (or even an 18+ Population) mapping would be expected to indicate even more areas with a Hispanic majority.

The coloring scheme is as it always is: red = Anglo majority, black = Afr-Am majority, brown = Hispanic majority, and yellow = no majority. The blue line that you might be able to make out is the county line between Prince George and Montgomery counties. Washington, DC is to the immediate southwest of all this.


The Demographics of Cook County (IL)

I had intended to merely post this for the sake of artistry if nothing else, but a little bit of number-crunching proves that Cook County Illinois (ie - Chicago, home of Jake & Elwood, da Bears, etc) is another case in point where a majority-minority area becomes majority-Anglo when you look at it in terms of Citizen Voting Age Population and the likely electorate. And yes, I'm well aware that "Anglo" is wildly mislabeled when talking about the ethnic pool that is Chicago. Anyways, the CVAP-majority map is below. Click it to big it, if you're that curious ...

Legend: red = Anglo/caucasian majority; brown = Hispanic majority; black = African-American majority; green = Asian majority; yellow = no majority

The math is as follows:

            COOK COUNTY              VAP               CVAP
Total ..... 5,194,675           3,962,395           3,415,340
Anglo ..... 2,278,358 (43.9%)   1,906,502 (48.1%)   1,840,731 (53.9%)
Hispanic .. 1,244,762 (24.0%)     822,242 (20.8%)     456,386 (13.4%)
Afr-Am .... 1,265,778 (24.4%)     923,363 (23.3%)     938,180 (27.5%)
Asian .....   318,869 ( 6.1%)     256,892 ( 6.5%)     151,352 ( 4.4%)

Interestingly, the African-American population grows in overall raw numbers from the Census Bureau's VAP counts to the ACS's CVAP counts.

Given the Dem-friendly tilt to the county, there's obviously a substantial share of Anglo Dems presnet in the county. I think those of us who have read up on the old-school Daley machine can figure out a few differences here as opposed to the Anglo Dem areas in, say, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, which have less ethnic diversity among the caucasian population. I haven't gotten around to mapping any election results to compare and contrast, but my hunch is that the Jewish, GLBT & multi-degreed folk share of that segment might be a minority within the full "Anglo Dem" reach of the county.

In poking around through some election results, I did find it interesting that Dick Durbin outpolled Barack Obama in 2008 in the county (72.6% to 66.6%). Just glancing around for the most solidly-white areas of the county that I could find, Orland Park went 48.7% for Obama (with McCain winning the township) and 61.2% for Durbin. That was the most extreme case of Obama losing and Durbin winning that I could find. If I get my hands on some precinct results, there's no telling what I'll end up doing with Cook and a few surrounding counties.

For now, take it for whatever it's worth to you. What I find striking is that the pattern of growth in what I label as "multicultural" areas, while substantial, doesn't seem as striking in several other locations with sizable population shares among three or more demographic groups. Maybe that's a homer bias on my part, maybe it's because I haven't gone through the trouble of mapping out the previous Census results to track the growth. But at first glance, it looks as if Houston, Los Angeles and New York represent the high end of the population share living in such a region. If I had an army of demographers, database geeks, and researchers, I'd probably do something like calculate out the Top 20 or so counties to see how each looks. I'm not quite putting that on my weekend to-do list, but it's obviously something that's going to gnaw away at me for a while until it does make the list.

ADD-ON: One of the more interesting redistricting doodles of the past couple of decades has been Illinois' 4th Congressional District. It's a challenge aimed at finding a way to draw a viable Hispanic district with the Hispanic population split geographically (not entirely dissimilar to how Houston's 18th and 29th have to find some tight points of connection). So, for the sake of understanding, here's why the new CD4 is drawn the way it is:


The Baby Bubble

» Foreign Policy: The World Will Be More Crowded -- With Old People

Another driver of the slowdown in immigration ...

Which countries will be aging most rapidly in 2025? They won't be in Europe, where birth rates fell comparatively gradually and now show some signs of ticking up. Instead, they'll be places like Iran and Mexico, which experienced youth bulges that were followed quickly by a collapse in birth rates. In just 35 years, both Iran and Mexico will have a larger percentage of their populations over 60 than France does today. Other places with birth rates now below replacement levels include not just old Europe but also developing countries such as Brazil, Chile, China, Lebanon, Tunisia, South Korea, and Vietnam.

Because of the phenomenon of hyper-aging in the developing world, another great variable is already changing as well: migration. In Mexico, for example, the population of children age 4 and under was 434,000 less in 2010 than it was in 1996. The result? The demographic momentum that fueled huge flows of Mexican migration to the United States has waned, and will wane much more in the future. Already, the net flow of illegal Mexican immigration northward has slowed to a trickle. With fewer children to support and not yet burdened by a huge surge of elders, the Mexican economy is doing much better than in the past, giving people less reason to leave. By 2025, young people on both sides of the border may struggle to understand why their parents' generation built this huge fence.

Harris County will be a particularly interesting datapoint to watch in the years ahead. As of the latest Census, the county is 40.8% Hispanic compared to 2000's 32.9% share. Whether the overall slowdown in immigration or Harris County's status as an immigration entry point drives Hispanic population growth up or down over the next decade remains to be seen. There's still the bubble represented by the already-present differences in age groups within Harris County. The under-18 population is already 51% Hispanic. That's not enough to drive the total Hispanic population share to majority status within a decade and it remains to be seen where that generation settles given that the previous generation has already started the process of diffusion throughout the county. If the county is to reach majority-Hispanic status in the next decade, it will because the older, more Anglo population continues to migrate elsewhere and to die off while the county's status as an entry point for immigration continues while the sheer numbers of those immigrating slow down.

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