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It was previously reported that Jefferson County’s population increase over the last decade was due largely to growing Asian and Hispanic populations. The same news was reported in several other counties, and this map from the Census Bureau shows how various populations have grown and shrunk since 2000. (via)
Now that data from the 2010 Census has been released, we can see how the population of individual counties in Kentucky has changed. That’s necessary information as redistricting begins in earnest.
CN2 has a breakdown of how congressional districts will need to change. Three of Kentucky’s six districts (2nd, 4th and 6th) will need to shed counties, says the report. Block by block data (when released) will be used to redraw the boundaries of the Louisville Metro Council districts. The council workgroup on redistricting meets Monday.
Lawmakers will soon begin to redraw legislative districts based on new census data. Many pundits have said this year’s elections have given Republicans an edge in redistricting, because the party has been voted into power in many areas.
But the Fix says the GOP’s wide majority in the House is evidence of the opposite:
In fact, they’ve got their work cut out for them in even keeping their current majorities in many states.
The Republican majority, which will be 47 seats when the new Congress is sworn in next month, will be bigger than at any point in the last 60 years. That means the party is already stretched pretty thin when it comes to the districts it holds.
Adding seats to that map is very difficult — even in many of the states where Republicans control the redistricting process and will be drawing the lines.
Next year, detail data from the 2010 will filter out to the states. This will be used to redrawn city, state and federal legislative districts. While a dramatic change is unlikely in Kentucky, it could tip the scales toward the cities, Louisville and Lexington. If the cities represent more of the state’s population, they’ll get more representation, and it’s long been said that Americans are becoming more urban, and cities could gain more power on the state and federal level.
But as Governing reports, that could come at the cost of rural clout.
Detailed data from the 2010 Census is coming out soon, and that has some lawmakers sharpening their gerrymandering pencils.
In Louisville, this will be a fairly historic occasion. The districts for the Metro Council will be redrawn for the first time.
I talked with Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh about the process. She hopes to involve outside experts, which is how the districts were first drawn before merger. Ward-Pugh anticipates a shift toward the eastern suburbs, but she expects the council to respect diversity and neighborhood boundaries. So it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like this in Louisville.
If you want to see who has responded to the census so far, check out this link from the government. The mountain west is really on the ball.
Census forms will be sent out soon. And while it may seem quaint to fill it out by hand and mail it in, keep in mind that a web-only census isn’t yet feasible. First of all, it would be quite an undertaking to build a computer system to safely and accurately handle the merger. Plus, the government doesn’t have a record of everyone’s e-mail address, so some mailings would have to go out.
Also, access to a quality internet connection is nonexistent in many poor and rural areas. One way to help these areas to get better schools, libraries, etc. is to have everyone fill out the census form.
So that brings me to a few discussion points…
1. Should there be some sort of government e-mail address system (in addition to private addresses) so the government can reach citizens?
2. Is internet access a right? A study out of London shows that 4 out of 5 adults believe it is.
Hand delivery of census forms in rural areas began on Monday. It’s a bit early, but the Rural Blog explains why:
The forms for rural residents are being distributed two weeks before mailing of surveys to urban areas because of problems inherent in counting rural residents. Irregular addresses and more travel time between addresses are two of the issues that rural census-takers must address.
The post goes on to explain the difficulties of census work in rural and urban areas. For instance, the distance between addresses is rural areas is formidable, but language barriers are a hindrance in cities.
The U.S. Census Bureau is having trouble recruiting census workers for many areas, including Appalachia.
But as the Rural Blog puts it, the recruiting troubles stem from confusion of the duties and benefits of census work, not fear of anti-government violence.
One factor they say isn’t discouraging Kentucky applicants, at least not now, is the highly publicized death of rural census worker Bill Sparkman in Clay County, Ky., last fall. Sparkman staged his death to look like a victim of anti-government sympathy, but it wasn’t ruled a suicide for two months, long after news stories had painted him as a possible victim of marijuana growers, methamphetamine makers, or haters of President Obama.
Althea Francis, head of the census office in Somerset, Ky., said it had trouble recruiting after Sparkman’s death, but most of those problems had been erased by the suicide ruling. Nevertheless, every county in her 24-county region of southeastern Kentucky remains short of applicants.
In the wake of Bill Sparkman‘s death, Wired has this piece about conspiracy theories surrounding the 2010 census. A lot of the theories involve the new GPS units census workers are using, which have replaced paper maps.
“The exact geographic location of each housing unit is critical to ensure that when we publish the census results for the entire country, broken down by various geographic areas ranging from states, counties and cities, to census blocks, we accurately represent the data for the area in question,” the Census Bureau explains on its website.
But that explanation doesn’t wash with everyone.
A post on the widely read Infowars.com in June warned: “I will tell you plainly, the NWO [New World Order] controlled American military wants these GPS markers so they can launch Predator Drone missile attacks, the aptly named HELLFIRE missile I might add, against a long list of undesirables here in CONUS, continental United States.”
Other commentators have posited less lethal theories. The American Daily Review warned in April that the Census Bureau is “shooting GPS coordinates of your doorway” in possible preparation for a secret Obama plan to cede some of America’s sovereignty to the United Nations.
“If the government decided to rely on foreign troops, perhaps United Nations personnel, most of which may not understand the street signs, much less know the lay of the land, they could use GPS devices to direct them to your front door,” the site explained.
And RightSoup.com suggests that the government, “and ACORN,” wants the coordinates for Americans’ front doors as “a jackboot convenience.”
Some of the conspiracy theorists encourage using weapons to protect your home from census workers.
“Only a fool would allow the New World Order to come up and take GPS readings at your front door,” wrote a commenter to another Infowars.com post. “There is nothing good to come from Big Brother’s constant meddling into our lives! Beware, and carry a big stick… preferably .308 Winchester full metal jacket.”