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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Election Demographics

This week's elections in the US showed, among other things, that voters in Virginia were not interested in electing as governor a person whose major campaign issues centered around restricting women's reproductive rights, harassing immigrants, and discriminating agains gays. In general, the data suggest that the political momentum may be swinging back toward Democrats. Part of that momentum lies with the children of immigrants, as my son, Greg, pointed out in his blog today--check it out:

Above the fold on the front page of today's Charlotte Observer (yes, I actually get a paper paper) was the headline "Can Charlotte Republicans Regain Mayor's Office" (accompanied by a quote by my political science colleague Eric Heberlig). I used it in my Politics of Latino Immigration class today because it fit so well with our ongoing discussions of political demography. The article's point was that demographics are favoring the Democratic Party in Charlotte. It has this very nice map comparison between the 2007 and 2013 mayoral elections.

You can see how the red is concentrated heavily in south Charlotte, and is shrinking. What the article unfortunately doesn't do, however, is integrate that analysis with the growth of the Latino population, which is a pretty glaring omission.

In work I've done with my dad, we got data on births in Mecklenburg County, then mapped them. Here is what you get:

What you can see is that the Latino population is dispersed across Charlotte, though less so in south Charlotte (which is more wealthy and white). If you combine it with the mayoral map, you end up with a city and county that will become bluer and bluer because of course Latinos support the Democratic Party by a very large margin. The children being born will not be voters for at least 18 years, but our map can also be viewed as a proxy for Latino families. Some are already citizens and non-citizens will slowly naturalize, faster if immigration reform with some sort of amnesty with path of citizenship is passed (which, naturally, is one reason many Republicans oppose it).

Thus, in Charlotte it will be really, really hard for Republicans to win mayoral elections. And by the way, in the future it may well get more difficult to win County Commissioner seats as well, if you look at the data for Hispanic births by county commission district.

As I keep repeating to my class, it doesn't matter if you like or dislike this. It's just the way things are, and demographic shifts are going to have major political impacts.

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