This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Redistricting Will Change the Demographics of California's Congressional Delegation

For the first time in state history, California this year did its congressional (and state legislative) redistricting with an independent commission, rather than having the Legislature do it, as still happens in most states. The New York Times reports that the results appears to have been what voters actually wanted--a shakeup of the California congressional delegation--but with some unintended consequences.
California’s Congressional delegation, the largest and most influential in the nation, is undergoing a major upheaval, the result of reapportionment and retirements, threatening the state’s influence in Washington next year and forcing members to scramble to withstand what is emerging as a generational wave.A quarter of the state’s 53-member delegation to Washington could be newcomers in the new Congress, analysts said, the result of at least 6 members retiring and strong contests in 10 other districts. By contrast, only one seat changed hands between parties in the course of 255 Congressional elections in California over the past 10 years.
This is what voters had in mind in creating the independent commission through a ballot initiative two years ago, even if no one was contemplating a loss of clout for the state. Of some interest is the fact that the redistricting in California seems likely to benefit Democrats.
While the full impact of redistricting is beginning to clarify in California, to the benefit of Democrats, the national battle over the process — done every decade in all the states, based on the most recent census — continues to churn. There are several court battles over it, particularly in Texas, which at 32 members has the next biggest delegation and where elections have been put on hold as the courts rule on various conflicting maps.

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