» 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.
Since I'm up early and a few links seem worth a mention ...
» New Republic: Achilles Tar Heel
North Carolina and Virginia are definitely going to be some of the most interesting states to see how the Presidential race moves (or doesn't).
» Chron: Galveston dropping resistance to public housing
» GC Daily News: Isle officials briefed on GLO’s housing plan
I'm not one for denigrating the wisdom of voters, even if my preferred candidate loses. But Galveston voters aren't helping much with their choice of mayor in the last election.
» Wash. Post: Baltimore puts out welcome mat for immigrants, hoping to stop population decline
There are actually a number of tenents to Baltimore's efforts. Not harrassing undocumented residents is one of them. If I were the scorecard-carrying type, I might bemoan this sort of coverage as "biased." Instead, it's just incomplete and a little lazy. There is a quote from a Baltimore elected who does begin to introduce some of the additional context, the reporter just ends the story there for all intents and purposes. The city of Baltimore has apparently been focusing on population for quite a while and the latest Census info didn't exactly do any wonders. Here's the Baltimore Sun's topic page for "population decline" for more context.
» NY Review of Books: Getting Away With It (Paul Krugman & Robin Wells)
Set aside for reading on Wednesday or any insomnia attack before then. I downloaded a preview of the Scheiber and Edsall books. Edsall's is a definite for continuing on with and I may opt for Chris Hayes' latest instead of Scheiber's. For his review, I'm merely hoping that Krugman is better suited for elaboration in a long-form take rather than his usual spotty analysis in his blog or column. That said, I wasn't much of a fan of his book, "The Conscience of a Liberal."
» Foreign Affairs: Confucius and the Ballot Box [$]
This looks interesting for a little dose of continuing education in Asian politics. So it goes into the Wednesday reading pile. I'm assuming this will relate more to the impact that a lack of democracy has to American foreign policy. But I'll be reading for some extra hints on any meaning for Asian voters (and more importantly, non-voters) here at home.
And on a non-political, non-current-affairs sort of note, I'll offer a sermon of choice ...
» Mars Hill Church: A Church That Believes in "We" and "Opt-In"
With a little bit of gratuitous back-patting over catching up on some Mars Hill podcasts, I happened to spin a few old sermons in order of their delivery. So now I'm on a kick to read through the book of Acts (and possibly restart this old habit), which this sermon is part of a series on. Sadly, I realized that my spotty record of downloading sermons finds me 7 downloads short of the 24-part series on Acts. So a small sacrifice of remuneration to the altar of archived podcasts must be given.
ADD-ON: One late entry via facebook discovery ...
» Texas Monthly: Why Johnny Can't Learn
The book under review definitely seems like a worthwhile read if I ever remember to pick up Ravitch's last one to read as a preview.
Below are the most over-populated and under-populated State Rep districts throughout Texas. Not surprisingly, they track with some of the known overall growth patterns: high growth in Collin County, north of Plano; high growth in the Katy area and northerwestern (Cypress) area of Harris County. The slow-growth area still being in the inner-city cores.
What's interesting here is that, among the redistricting arguments you will here is that future growth patterns are an allowable reason for population variation. Districts 70 and 132 started the decade pretty close to the maximum deviation for underpopulation, which really puts an exclamation point behind them being the top two most over-populated districts.
What's interesting, though, is that some of the slow-growth areas also started the decade underpopulated. In the case of District 22, that may have been because expanding the district out would have made it harder to maintain over 50% African-American population. As-is, that district cuts into Orange County, which is a pretty unusual county slice. But Anchia's District 103 nearly maxes out the under-represenation limit and would not have had any problem adding population while still staying close to the 66% VAP Hispanic population it started off with. In fact, only one of the listed under-populated districts started the decade off as over-populated.
On a sidenote, 28 districts are within the allowed +/-5% range for state population.
HD70 - Ken Paxton (McKinney, Collin County)
2010 population: 300,801 - overpopulated by 133,164
2000 population: 132,671 - underpopulated by 6,341 (4.56%)
HD132 - Bill Callegari (West Harris County)
2010 population: 264,426 - overpopulated by 96,789
2000 population: 133,149 - underpopulated by 5,863 (4.22%)
HD28 - John Zerwas (Fort Bend, Waller, Wharton)
2010 population: 263,682 - overpopulated by 96,045
2000 population: 139,748 - overpopulated by 736 (0.53%)
HD89 - Jodie Laubenberg (Collin, Rockwall)
2010 population: 253,976 - overpopulated by 86,339
2000 population: 134,550 - underpopulated by 4,462 (3.21%)
HD130 - Allen Fletcher (Northwest Harris County)
2010 population: 252,386 - overpopulated by 84,749
2000 population: 134,227 - underpopulated by 4,785 (3.44%)
HD103 - Rafael Anchia (Dallas)
2010 population: 117,346 - underpopulated by 50,291
2000 population: 132,316 - underpopulated by 6,696 (4.82%)
HD22 - Joe Deshotel (Jefferson, Orange)
2010 population: 126,184 - underpopulated by 41,453
2000 population: 133,159 - underpopulated by 5,853 (4.21%)
HD114 - Will Hartnett (Dallas)
2010 population: 126,576 - underpopulated by 41,061
2000 population: 141,298 - overpopulated by 2,286 (1.64%)
HD143 - Ana Hernandez (Houston)
2010 population: 127,381 - underpopulated by 40,256
2000 population: 133,869 - underpopulated by 5,143 (3.70%)
Yet another one to add to the "to-be-mapped" list. Bexar County's magic number is 10.23, so they have the unusual task of keeping the same number of seats (Travis County will also maintain their current level). And with that, there's still some pretty wild population swings that will have to be adjusted for. As I'm sure anyone who's familiar with the county knows, the north/northwestern part of the county grew like wildfire.
So here's what jumps out to me:
- Two majority-Anglo districts. The surprising part, though, is that both represent fairly slim majorities, yet each district has an outsized share of GOP vote within them. Again ... sometimes demographics alone don't tell the full story.
- The two most over-populated districts are right by each other. It could be interesting to see if that means there might be an opening for former State Rep. David Liebowitz to return in 2012. And, not surprisingly, the two most under-populated districts are side-by-side. One of those members is the Vice-Chair of the Redistricting Committee. It'll be interesting to see if that works in Villareal's favor, or if there's a clear divide within the committee like there was in 2001. I wouldn't expect it to be an excuse to pair the two incumbents, but you never know.
Usual caveat: as noted in the Harris and Dallas County version of this post, +/- is based on the countywide average for number of seats while the overall state map will require a +/- 5% in terms of population variation statewide.
DISTRICT +/- Population Hisp% Asian% Afram% Anglo% ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 116-Fischer -28,533 142,944 69.14% 4.03% 4.74% 20.49% 117-Garza 48,883 220,360 63.04% 2.35% 5.31% 27.34% 118-Farias -18,668 152,809 68.18% 1.02% 3.03% 26.48% 119-Gutierrez -14,371 157,106 71.12% 0.79% 7.15% 19.61% 120-McClendon -8,290 163,187 50.85% 1.82% 25.62% 19.39% 121-Straus -12,604 158,873 35.40% 2.45% 6.75% 53.23% 122-Larson 75,369 246,846 32.35% 4.29% 3.67% 57.59% 123-Villarreal -39,035 132,442 74.05% 0.85% 3.15% 20.86% 124-Menéndez 6,567 178,044 69.88% 1.76% 6.51% 19.81% 125-Castro -9,315 162,162 68.91% 2.52% 4.17% 22.84%
Another one that I'll get around to mapping out later in the weekend. Dallas County's magic number is 14.1, so there's no path that I see to avoid them losing two seats. And with the exception of HD109, every district essentially has to grow a little to add population. Dallas should be a pretty clear cut case of watching the GOP devour one of their own, barring retirement by any of the members.
A couple of things jump out from the demographics:
- Linda Harper-Brown's current district is now much more evident as to why it's become so competitive. That 17% Asian population isn't going un-noticed, but I'm curious what the voter rolls suggest in the district. It's close to DFW airport and there's a sizable
stewardessflight attendant population in the apartments nearby. How many of them are registered voters is a bigger question than anything else.
- Like Harris County, Dallas County has a "black-to-brown" problem with some over-extended African-American districts carrying a higher share of Hispanic voters now and with African-American populations under 40%.
- Comparing the demographics of HD102 and HD107 strikes me as interesting since the early voting results in 2010 had 102's Carol Kent being the lowest-running incumbent Dem and I figured that 107's Allen Vaught might hang on. In the end, Kent performed a mere point less than Vaught. But the demographics are a little more uphill in Vaught's 107. That may or may not be an indicator that he had a little better crossover support, it might not mean much of anything. But it's at least a interesting datapoint. Certainly worth watching to see what district (and what kind of district) Vaught falls in for 2012.
As noted in the Harris County version of this post, +/- is based on the countywide average for number of seats while the overall state map will require a +/- 5% in terms of population variation statewide.
DISTRICT +/- Population Hisp% Asian% Afram% Anglo% ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 100-Johnson -20,119 149,033 46.51% 1.41% 37.61% 13.31% 101-Burkett -5,551 163,601 32.70% 3.43% 21.42% 40.30% 102-Carter -37,825 131,327 35.58% 5.67% 19.08% 37.85% 103-Anchia -51,806 117,346 74.54% 2.17% 7.15% 15.23% 104-Alonzo -37,252 131,900 81.40% 0.66% 7.54% 9.61% 105-Harper-Brn -4,914 164,238 35.67% 16.83% 13.87% 31.10% 106-Anderson -9,436 159,716 49.93% 4.91% 13.22% 30.02% 107-Sheets -28,695 140,457 36.77% 2.35% 10.60% 48.67% 108-Branch -25,621 143,531 23.61% 4.04% 6.67% 63.87% 109-Giddings 6,103 175,255 17.69% 0.78% 63.66% 16.19% 110-Caraway -18,449 150,703 47.52% 0.19% 38.17% 13.02% 111-Davis -5,778 163,374 35.51% 1.47% 46.72% 14.98% 112-Button -20,241 148,911 23.09% 13.69% 11.00% 49.83% 113-Driver -7,849 161,303 30.02% 7.23% 15.86% 44.76% 114-Harnett -42,576 126,576 28.76% 4.36% 14.20% 50.80% 115-Jackson -28,284 140,868 26.89% 9.24% 7.50% 54.27%
I'll get around to mapping this out for a visual overview of the situation. But, for now, here's the math-heavy view of things. The demographics are interesting enough, but if you want to see whether districts need to shrink or expand, the +/- number is the key. I calculated the county population divided by 24 to get an average of 170,519.
A couple of caveats ... first, there's no telling if there might be some magic trick to allow Harris County to get 25 seats. I have a hard time seeing it, so I'm operating under the assumption that we get 24 for the sake of planning ahead. Second, the entire state map has to contain districts that are +/- 5% in terms of population variation which will be calculated against the statewide average - not the county average. That number is 167,637. So, at maximum, a district can contain 176,018 people and a minimum of 159,255. All that to say: I use the countywide average as a simple baseline, but it's not the magical number that the Justice Department will be looking at.
That aside, some of the highlights that jump out at me:
- Not one district in Harris County presently has a majority of African-American population. The decade started with four districts that had a bare majority and two that were between 45-50%. In fact, Harold Dutton and Garnet Coleman's districts are under 40% African-American. For all the critics of the VRA, I can't help but notice a positive in there. Of course, there's a point to be made that the share of African-American protected seats is inflated. Harris County is 18.4% African-American. Out of 24 seats, that would warrant 4.4 seats. Yet we have 6 African-American seats. Will the GOP lege look at that as an opportunity to put one of those seats on the cutting-room floor? There's a lot of interesting math at work in many of these districts, so I'll probably get around to a full blog post devoted solely to this topic.
- My district - HD137 - now has almost 64% Hispanic population. It was originally drawn to at 55% Hispanic. That almost evenly matches the decline in Anglo population. Throughout the county, 10 seats are majority-Hispanic. 5 others are plurality-Hispanic.
- Six districts now have over 10% Asian population in Harris County. More growth in the Asian population happened outside of city limits than within. Welcome to the new world of minority population diffusion!
Disitrict +/- Population Hisp% Asian% Afram% Anglo% ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 126-Harless 1,755 172,274 29.58% 9.23% 20.88% 38.33% 127-Huberty 16,583 187,102 23.74% 2.09% 11.00% 61.33% 128-Smith -21,702 148,817 37.53% 1.45% 10.00% 49.47% 129-Davis -19,721 150,798 20.26% 10.62% 7.72% 58.90% 130-Fletcher 81,867 252,386 22.10% 7.07% 9.16% 59.54% 131-Allen -17,630 152,889 41.48% 3.78% 45.36% 8.17% 132-Callegari 93,907 264,426 37.46% 7.10% 13.72% 39.53% 133-Murphy -15,223 155,296 36.61% 11.78% 23.23% 26.34% 134-Davis -23,373 147,146 12.73% 10.78% 4.61% 69.69% 135-Elkins -3,582 166,937 39.91% 11.41% 12.51% 34.31% 136-Woolley -23,665 146,854 23.63% 8.82% 6.66% 58.88% 137-Hochberg -32,643 137,876 63.75% 10.57% 12.76% 11.55% 138-Bohac -33,638 136,881 51.41% 4.24% 9.22% 33.80% 139-Turner -19,600 150,919 44.22% 4.02% 44.27% 6.42% 140-Walle -31,244 139,275 83.98% 0.56% 6.71% 8.24% 141-Thompson 14,201 184,720 43.56% 1.58% 40.12% 13.33% 142-Dutton -15,725 154,794 45.21% 1.60% 39.22% 12.79% 143-Hernandez -43,138 127,381 85.66% 0.28% 2.26% 11.22% 144-Legler -804 169,715 56.04% 4.80% 7.23% 30.68% 145-Alvarado -37,789 132,730 85.89% 1.75% 3.18% 8.61% 146-Miles -27,399 143,120 22.62% 7.60% 46.81% 21.39% 147-Coleman -23,662 146,857 38.50% 3.67% 37.45% 18.81% 148-Farrar -29,573 140,946 59.29% 1.79% 8.42% 29.38% 149-Vo -683 169,836 33.12% 18.31% 23.22% 23.26% 150-Riddle 41,965 212,484 25.99% 4.71% 16.49% 50.46%
The 2010 State of Houston-area Demographics ...
Harris Ft. Bend Total 4,092,459 585,375 Anglo 1,349,646 32.98% 211,680 36.16% Afr-Am 754,258 18.43% 123,267 21.06% Asian 249,853 6.11% 98,762 16.87% Hispanic 1,671,540 40.84% 138,967 23.74% Houston Sugar Land Total 2,099,451 78,817 Anglo 537,901 25.62% 35,014 44.42% Afr-Am 485,956 23.15% 5,744 7.29% Asian 124,859 5.95% 27,672 35.11% Hispanic 919,668 43.81% 8,324 10.56%
The fact that Houston clocks in at 2.099M instead of 2.1M warrants some attention. I'd think we might go ahead and draw 11 districts anyways, but the fact that there's a differing datapoint may very well mean that any party who doesn't like the end product map will have something to argue in front of a judge regardless of which way we go. I'm spending more time in front of numbers than I am news ... hopefully there's a quick statement from Mayor Parker on which route we go.
As for Harris County, I'll be curious if the VAP numbers track with Hispanics being the plurality in the county. If so, I think it makes it very difficult to argue for three safe Anglo GOP seats and zero Hispanic opportunity seats. Either of the two proposals I drafted strike me as being worth some consideration.
UPDATE: Via Council Member Ed Gonzalez, the city is proceeding with plans to add two new council seats despite the Census showing us a hair short of the 2.1M population count. Good to see that!
The Census puts out some prelim numbers while I await the raw data. As expected, growth tracks with the suburbs. Of more immediate political importance is the fact that the Harris County number for State Representative seats clocks in at 24.4126. I knew I should've bet Doc Murray on that! Unfortunately, it means we're now likely to lose a State House seat in Harris County. Dallas County's number is 14.1266 - as expected, they'll lose a seat. Tarrant County's number is 10.79 - as expected, they'll gain a seat.
» SA Express-News: 2010 Census: State increasingly urban, Latino
The big-picture numbers are out ...
The iconic image of Texas is fading further into history, as new data from the 2010 Census shows that the state is increasingly urban and Latino.
According to the Associated Press, Latino's accounted for two-thirds of the state's growth over the last decade.
Latinos now make up 38 percent of the population, up from 32 percent in 2000, according to the AP.
The Anglo population has now dropped to 45.3 percent, down from 52.4 percent in 2000. About 11.5 percent of the population is black, unchanged from 10 years ago.
Almost all of the state's population growth is expected to have occurred in just four areas: Houston-Galveston, Dallas-Fort Worth, the Austin-San Antonio corridor and the lower Rio Grande Valley.
I'll be in the weeds of those particular details all weekend long.
One final map product before the 2010 numbers land in my lap. This is the "before" picture of the I35 Corridor, which is expected to have substantial population gains over the last decade. Zoom out for the bigger picture or scroll around for the other counties in the area.
As I get numbers together, I'll ultimately be looking at where population in each section grew (plus, I'm hoping to do a South Texas map completed over the weekend) and what demographic groups accounted for that change. Because, ya know ... that's how I roll.
dark green - 5,000 people per square mile
green - 2,500 people per square mile
light green - 500 people per square mile