The crown jewel of the 2010 Census is out: California. The nation’s largest state is, well, even larger than before, at 37,253,956, up from 33,871,648. Divide that out among 53 districts (it was the first time in ages that California didn’t gain a House seat, despite gaining more than 3 million residents… it gained at a rate close to the country as a whole), and you have a target of 702,905, which is up from about 639K in 2000.
It may not come as a surprise, but much of the state’s growth is Hispanic. Since 2000, the state’s Hispanic population grew 27.8%, while the state’s non-Hispanic population was almost stagnant, growing only 1.5%. (The Asian population grew 31.5%, but that’s a fairly small subset of the overall population.) In 2000, California was 46.7% non-Hispanic white and 32.4% Hispanic, but in 2010, it had drawn much closer: 40.1% non-Hispanic white and 37.6% Hispanic.
Looking at the table, you’ll notice that a large number of districts have moved from white pluralities to Hispanic pluralities over the last ten years: the Democratic-controlled 17th, 23rd, and 27th, and the Republican-controlled 21st, 44th, and 45th. (The latter two were also the state’s two fastest growing districts, both in Riverside County to the east of Los Angeles.) Two more GOP-held seats in the greater Los Angeles area are also dancing close to the edge of a Hispanic plurality: the 25th, and the Orange County-based 40th. Of course, that doesn’t presage an immediate change in voting patterns; given lower Hispanic voter participation rates and the fact that much of the Hispanic population is under 18, changes will be slow to happen. Case in point: the 20th, where incumbent Jim Costa had a close call in 2010 despite it being a 70% Hispanic district! (One other bit of trivia: Pete Stark’s 13th moved from a white plurality to an Asian plurality, the only Asian-plurality district outside of Hawaii.)
One other thing you’ll notice: despite the fact that California didn’t lose a seat, there is going to be substantial reconfiguration of districts, with boundaries moving from west to east. The Bay Area gained little population, and will need to give most of a seat to the Central Valley; likewise, Los Angeles County proper gained little, and will need to give most of a seat to the Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties). Although the Central Valley and Inland Empire tend to be Republican areas in general, most of the growth in those places has been Hispanic, to the extent that “new” seats are probably going to wind up being Hispanic VRA seats carved out of the general overlay of red; on the other hand, the Bay Area and LA proper are already Dem strongholds and have nothing but Dems to lose, so the overall effect is likely to be a wash. Of course, given that this is the first year that California switches to an ostensibly impartial commission, which has no compunction to preserve the incumbent protection intent of the 2000 map and may actually place a premium on compactness, we could see all manner of scrambling that goes well beyond what I’m describing.
While we aren’t going into as much detail as we did with Texas, we’re adding a few details to California that most states haven’t received: each district’s representative (as it’s well nigh impossible to keep track of which district number is what when there are 53 of them), and the district’s racial composition in both 2010 and 2000. The four categories expressed as overall percentages, left to right, are non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic African-American, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic.
|District||Rep.||Population||Deviation||2010 Race||2000 Race|
|CA-39||Sanchez, Li. (D)||643,115||(59,790)||16/5/10/66||21/6/9/63|
|CA-45||Bono Mack (R)||914,209||211,304||41/6/4/45||50/6/3/38|
|CA-47||Sanchez, Lo. (D)||631,422||(71,483)||12/1/17/68||17/1/14/65|