Sunday, January 2, 2011

Four New U.S. House Seats For Texas in 2012 - Will Collin Co. Get One?

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 that the 2010 Census showed the population of the United States on April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538 -- an increase of 9.7 percent over the 2000 U.S. population of 281,421,906. The most populous state was California (37,253,956); the least populous, Wyoming (563,626). The state that gained the most numerically since the 2000 Census was Texas (up 4,293,741 to 25,145,561) and the state that gained the most as a percentage of its 2000 Census count was Nevada (up 35.1% to 2,700,551). Regionally, the South and the West picked up the bulk of the population increase, 14,318,924 and 8,747,621, respectively. But the Northeast and the Midwest also grew: 1,722,862 and 2,534,225, respectively. U.S. Census Bureau Director Bob Groves says that since 1940, 79 congressional seats have shifted from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and West. "Texas gained the most seats this decade, a total of four — and indeed that state has gained seats for seven consecutive decades," Groves says.

U.S. Census Interactive Map
Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution calls for a census of the nation's population every 10 years to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives seats among the states. The 2010 apportionment winner is Texas with four additional House seats. Texas also gains four more presidential electoral votes and will be eligible for a greater share of federal money for various services. Florida will have two new U.S. House seats, giving that state a total of 27 representatives -- the same as New York. States receiving one additional seat each are: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. The biggest congressional losers are New York and Ohio, both losing two House seats, with Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania each losing just one House seat. California still has the most representatives at 53, but for the first time in its history it did not gain a House seat.

The decennial census for Texas totaled to 25,145,561 people living in the state in the first half of 2010 for a 20.6% increase over the number of people living in the state in 2000. While the recently completed 2010 Census documented a marked slowdown in the growth of the U.S. population at 9.7 percent, Texas more than doubled that rate, courtesy of the burgeoning Texas Hispanic and black populations. While the Texas Anglo population increased at a rate less than the national average, Texas Hispanics increased by 33 percent and African-Americans by 16 percent. If these demographic trends continue, Hispanics should become the largest ethnic group in Texas within five years and become a majority of the state population by 2029. Thus, the fuel entitling the state to 36 rather than 32 seats in the reconfigured 435-member U.S. House of Representatives came entirely from minority communities that traditional vote Democratic. The U.S. House Texas delegation currently stands at 32, with 23 Republicans and 9 Democrats.

Most of the Texas growth was in the urban areas and in South Texas -- areas where Democrats traditionally draw the largest share of votes. That sets up an explosive situation when the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature formulates a redistricting plan during its 140-day session that convenes on January 11, 2011. The 150 member Texas House of Representatives will be made up of 49 Democrats and 101 Republicans when it convenes in January. (State Rep. Allan Ritter and State. Rep. Aaron Pena switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in December 2010.) A fair redrawing of the new congressional lines must allow the minority populations whose growth created the additional seats the opportunity to choose their representatives. Should the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature gerrymander the new districts to disenfranchise the larger minority populations, the gerrymandered congressional map would likely be challenged by the Obama Administration Justice Department, which under the Voting Rights Act must approve any changes affecting minority representation.

The last Texas redistricting plan, championed by former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in 2003, tilted the numbers in favor of the GOP by packing minorities into fewer districts while scattering the rest in districts dominated by Republicans. As a result, only two Texas Democratic representatives, Houston's Gene Green and Austin's Lloyd Doggett, are Anglo. Neither Houston or Dallas, both of which have large concentrations of Hispanics, have Hispanic congressional representatives.

Based on the 2010 Census count of 25,145,561 people living in Texas, the ideal population of a Texas congressional district is 698,488, the ideal senate district is 811,147, the ideal state house district is 167,637, and the ideal State Board of Education district is 1,676,371. While the Texas legislature goes into session on January 11th, serious redistricting efforts can't take place until the Census Bureau releases its detailed census breakdown. The Census Bureau expects to release the detailed county and block level population data needed to redistrict in late February or early March. (Census data release schedule - Texas redistricting information)

Three of the new congressional seats will probably land in areas that have seen the greatest population growth. Using county growth numbers taken from Nielsen Claritas market estimates for 2010, Collin County's population grew 64.5% to 808,727 residents in the ten years since the 2000 census. That compares to U.S. Census estimated population growth through 2009 of 19.7% for Harris County, 57.1% for Fort Bend County and 10.5% for Dallas County. Keep in mind that the largest counties are (state) constitutionally mandated to have all districts nested within county lines. Democratic political consultant Matt Angle predicts new Hispanic districts for the San Antonio and Dallas areas and a new Republican district will likely go into northwest Harris County.

Given Collin County's population growth over the last ten years it seem likely the county will see some adjustment to some or all of the various district lines, including for the Congressional, Texas House, Texas Senate and State Board of Education districts. Some interesting demographic analysis from a 2010 Nielsen Claritas market report for Collin County shows the county:
  • is the 6th most populous and fastest growing county in Texas;
  • is one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S.;
  • has a relatively young population with 28% of the residents under 18 years, 5% of the residents over 65 years and a median resident age of 34 years;
  • will likely reach an estimated population count of 1.2 million people by 2030;
  • is among the few Texas counties with more than a half-million people;
  • had the highest sustained growth rate (64.5%) of Texas counties since the 2000 Census; and
  • had a median Household Income in 2010 of $83,040, making it the wealthiest county in Texas.

Data for Collin Co. - 2009

Data for TX Congressional Dist. 3 - 2009

Data for TX Congressional Dist. 4 - 2009
Collin County currently holds most of Texas Congressional District 3, represented by Republican Sam Johnson since he first won election in 1991. The 3rd congressional district includes the county's densely populated southwest quadrant and a small corner of northern Dallas county. The demographic makeup of Collin County's portion of the 3rd district has changed greatly since Johnson was first elected to office in the early 1990's.

The 1990 census listed over 80% of Collin County's citizens as "White," non-Hispanic. U.S. census estimates for 2009 show the non-Hispanic white portion of the population had dropped to only 65.4% of the county's population. According to 2009 Census estimates, 14.5% of the county is Hispanic-American, 10.2% of the county is Asian-American and not quite 8.2% of the population is African-American.

A December 2009 National Journal Online article detailing the growth of minority populations in congressional districts across the nation shows that non-Hispanic white Americans have decreased in Johnson's district (that currently includes a portion of Dallas Co.) to 54.9 percent while the district's minority American makeup has increased 8.4 percent to 45 percent, according to the National Journal report. (pie chart right)

The remaining three quarters of Collin County's geographic area is included in Texas Congressional District 4, currently represented by Republican Ralph Hall. Hall's District 4 geographic area includes all or parts of Bowie, Camp, Cass, Collin, Delta, Fannin, Farnklin, Grayson, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Morris, Rains, Red River and Rockwall counties., so the district's demographic numbers mask the true makeup for Collin County's portion of the 4th congressional district. The detailed 2010 Census data will give the current demographic break down for all sections of Collin Co. (Census data release schedule)

Current Dist. 3 in Yellow and Dist. 4 in Pink

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