* Illinois lost out on holding onto 19 congressional seats by just 75,046 residents, according to Election Data Services. Our population increased, just not enough. Illinois hasn’t gained a seat in Congress since 1910. The West and the South have been picking up seats for the past 70 years…
“The trend is growth in seats for western and southern states, and a tendency to lose seats in the Midwest and Northeastern states. In fact, since 1940 there’s been a net shift of 79 seats to the South and West,” said Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau.
So, while it sucks that we’re losing a congressional seat due to reapportionment, and while we certainly have more than our share of problems here, the Chicago Tribune editorial today was just downright breathlessly negative…
The loss of a congressional seat is a barometer of many things. But most of all it is a barometer of people making decisions — about themselves, their children and the kind of future that Illinois promises.
Would you come to a state that makes national headlines not only for the size of its estimated $15 billion deficit this fiscal year, but also for its political leaders’ inability to dig in and reform how they spend?
Would you come to a state where thousands of kids are doomed to dead-end classrooms, where bright school reforms struggle and the dim status quo often prevails?
Where public corruption investigations provide one of the few employment growth industries? Where too many people around the world now think of Illinois as the chronically corrupt Land of Blago?
Where some $130 billion in unfunded obligations for public employees’ retirement benefits may — unless lawmakers come to their senses — condemn taxpayers and their progeny to decades of tomorrows spent retiring today’s debt from yesterday’s commitments?
Actually, we are gaining population. People are moving here. Yeah, we’re screwed up, but considering how close we came to keeping 19 seats, and considering the historical trends, losing one seat isn’t some Greek tragedy of epic proportions. We lost a seat in 1950 and again in 1960, when we were still pretty darned strong. Back in those days, we had worker shortages all over the place, yet we still lost seats.
Again, losing a seat in Congress is unacceptable. We should definitely use this as a learning, humbling experience. But we lost seats when we were still hitting on all cylinders as well. The Tribune ought to look at a little history to put things into perspective before screaming bloody murder again.
* Meanwhile, MALDEF made some interesting points about population growth via press release yesterday…
· The 2010 Census showed the nation grew 9.7% since 2000. Based on the Census Bureau’s 2009 ACS 1-Year Estimates, the Latino population grew 37% from 2000 to 2009, where the non-Latino White population grew less than 3%. Stated otherwise, Latinos made up 51% of the United States total population growth, compared to non-Latino White population contributing 21% of the U.S. total population growth.
· Based on the ACS data, in the following 16 states Latino population growth accounted for more than 60% of the state’s total population growth: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia. Latino population growth represents more than half the state’s population growth in 21 states.
In the eight states that gained Congressional Districts under the 2010 Census, the 2009 ACS data show that, with the exception of Florida and Texas, the Latino population grew more than 55%. In Texas and Florida, the Latino population grew a respective 37.16% and 48.82%. These relatively lower percentages represent large figures, with the states growing by 2,478,390 and 1,309,582 Latinos respectively. [Emphasis added.]
*** UPDATE *** From the Latino Policy Forum…
Illinois will be down a seat in the House of Representatives following the 2012 elections, according to yesterday’s US Census Bureau announcement. Analysis from the Latino Policy Forum indicates that two seats would have been stripped from Illinois, had the state’s Latino population not grown as dramatically as it has over the past decade.
“Latinos have made significant, well-documented contributions to the workforce and economy,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum. “But beyond economics, Census data show how Latinos’ sheer numbers are benefiting Illinois.”
Without a Latino population increase of nearly half a million people since 2000, Illinois would have fallen short of the population needed for an 18th House seat, having sufficient population for just 17 seats. This shortfall is estimated at 315,656 to 368,937 people, according to analysis from the Latino Policy Forum.
Based on total apportionment population, each House seat represents 716,767 people, meaning that Illinois’ current 18-seat apportionment requires a population of 12,793,806. But without the Latino growth, Illinois population would have come in at an estimated 12,424,869, good for only 17 House seats.
* Democrats in charge of drawing map: How can Illinois be gaining population and still be losing a seat in the U.S. House? The simple answer is that Illinois’ population did not grow enough during the past 10 years compared with other states.
* Illinois loses congressional seat: If the census shows a big Hispanic population increase in Illinois — and if that growth is not scattered across the state —Illinois Democrats may be under pressure to create a second Hispanic district. The first Hispanic district in Illinois was drawn following the 1990 census — a convoluted “C”-shaped district that includes Hispanic neighborhoods on Chicago’s North and South Sides wrapped around a district running from the lakefront to the near western suburbs.
* Remap war begins as census figures roll out: While detailed intrastate population breakdowns won’t be available for at least a few weeks, insiders are suggesting that the figures may well indicate that Chicago and Cook County no longer have enough African-Americans to sustain three super-majority black districts but enough Latinos to force creation of a second majority-Latino district.
* Illinois loses seat in U.S. House: Privately, some Democrats and Republicans agree that potential scenarios could involve merging parts of Schilling’s district with those of the 18th central Illinois district of Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria and the northwestern Illinois 16th District of U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo of Leaf River. Schilling, of Colona, lives about 65 miles away from both Schock and from Manzullo, making it easier for mapmakers to set up potential head-to-head matches in a largely rural part of the state. Still, closer to Chicago, elements of Manzullo’s district also could be combined with the North Shore 10th District of Dold and 8th District of Walsh.
* Illinois gains population, but loses a congressman - Costello, Shimkus should be safe in redistricting: On the bubble, however, will be Schilling, a member of the GOP’s conservative Tea Party wing and one of four House freshmen elected last month. Schilling defeated Rep. Phil Hare, D-Rock Island. Cobbled together from other districts a decade ago during the last redistricting, Schilling’s 17th District — which stretches for north of Rock Island, hugs Illinois’ western border and reaches into sections of Madison, Sangamon and Macon counties — makes a logical target for the Democrat leaders to split up among other districts, including Shimkus’, Jackson said.
* How the states rank
* Illinois political parties map strategy: Illinois taxpayers could shell out as much as $3.4 million in the upcoming battle to redraw the state’s political boundaries.
* Teen birthrate at lowest point in seven decades