Possible Iowa Map

(This map sets up the Latham/Boswell race most people are expecting. It has larger population variance than this map but more compact districts. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I drew this map upon release of the new Census data for Iowa.  I paid no attention to partisanship and tried to correlate each district with a geographical area of the state.  Starting with Des Moines, I drew a district around it, then drew a district for the southeast, northeast and western Iowa.  My goal was to have each district within 1,000 persons of the ideal district population.  Amazingly, my configuration worked out on my very first try (which means there’s probably many possible combinations to how the state can be drawn).  Nevertheless, I kind of like the map here because I think it does a good job in keeping the different regions of the state together (in that respect, I think it’s better than, for example, the 1990’s Iowa map which had one district run from Des Moines to  the western border).

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Iowa census numbers discussion thread

The U.S. Census Bureau released a ton of new Iowa demographic information yesterday.

Data for Iowa show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Des Moines, 203,433; Cedar Rapids, 126,326; Davenport, 99,685; Sioux City, 82,684; and Waterloo, 68,406. Des Moines grew by 2.4 percent since the 2000 Census. Cedar Rapids grew by 4.6 percent, Davenport grew by 1.3 percent, Sioux City decreased by 2.7 percent and Waterloo decreased by 0.5 percent.

The largest county is Polk with a population of 430,640. Its population grew by 15.0 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Linn, with a population of 211,226 (increase of 10.2 percent); Scott, 165,224 (increase of 4.1 percent); Black Hawk, 131,090 (increase of 2.4 percent); and Johnson, 130,882 (increase of 17.9 percent).

Click here to find the Iowa numbers and charts. I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to look through the data, but I’m posting a few starting points for discussion here.

Rick Smith’s piece on growth in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor is worth a read. I’m not surprised Linn County grew substantially during the decade, especially in the suburbs, but the population growth in Cedar Rapids itself is impressive. I didn’t expect to see that after the 2008 floods destroyed whole neighborhoods in the city.

After the jump I’ve posted official 2010 population numbers for all 99 Iowa counties, along with a map putting the counties in different population categories and a map grouping counties by population gain or loss (percentage). Ten Iowa counties have populations larger than 65,000 people. Another 14 counties have populations between 25,000 and 64,999; 29 counties have populations between 15,000 and 24,999; and 46 counties have populations between 4,029 (Adams) and 14,999. Dallas led the 33 Iowa counties that gained population between 2000 and 2010.

Although I wasn’t able to reproduce this chart showing the racial and ethnic breakdown of the Iowa population by Congressional district, I did include those numbers at the end of this post. I was surprised to see that even though Polk County has the largest Latino/Hispanic population in Iowa, there are more Latino/Hispanic residents in IA-05 than in IA-03, with IA-02 and IA-04 not far behind. Meanwhile, IA-01 has the smallest Latino/Hispanic population but the largest African-American population. The largest Asian population is in IA-03 with IA-02 not far behind. View the chart here or scroll down for more details.

Share any thoughts about the census data or details that caught your eye in this thread. For example, the Newton Independent posted 2000 and 2010 numbers for Jasper County and area cities.

UPDATE: The Des Moines Register has lots of census coverage here. Statewide, Iowa’s population grew by 4.1 percent from 2000 to 2010. The Latino population was up by 83.8 percent, the Asian population was up by 44.9 percent, and the African-American population was up by 44.1 percent.

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Christmas weekend open thread

Merry Christmas to those in the Bleeding Heartland community celebrating the holiday. Hope you have a joyful day with friends and family. To everyone else, I hope you enjoy some peaceful downtime this weekend. Yesterday our family finished a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle and went out sledding twice before enjoying Chinese food and a movie with a bunch of other Des Moines area Jews.

Today more sledding is on the agenda, and probably a new jigsaw puzzle. My boys received several new games for Chanukah, so we’ve been playing them a lot, especially “Sorry” and the Lego Harry Potter board game. For dinner, it will be my variation on my mother’s noodle kugel, which has become a sort of Christmas tradition for Mr. desmoinesdem. I’ve posted the recipe after the jump. It’s a lot less work than the traditional Christmas dinner Patric Juillet grew up with in Provence. Patric used to blog as Asinus Asinum Fricat. I am going to try some of his sweet potato recipes soon.

We received a card this week from a friend who usually bakes up a storm for Christmas. This year she got behind on her holiday baking, so instead of bringing over a package of goodies she made a donation in our name to Central Iowa Shelter and Services. That was a nice surprise. Food banks and shelters need cash donations now, and we don’t need any extra calories around our house. If you prefer to support charity working globally to reduce hunger, kestrel9000 suggests making a gift to Oxfam.

I didn’t notice too much “war on Christmas” silliness this year, but The Daily Show had a funny go at this American staple: “The holiday season wouldn’t feel the same without people going out of their way to be offended by nothing.” Locally, Gary Barrett tried to stir up some outrage over the demise of a “winter tree” at Ames High School. I felt my children’s public school did a good job of exposing the kids to different holiday traditions. Many children talked about their family’s rituals (religious or not) in class, and a display case had holiday decorations representing Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Devali.

The U.S. Census Bureau delivered Christmas cheer to some states this week, including our neighbor to the north, but as we all expected, Iowa will lose a Congressional district.

This is an open thread for anything on your mind this weekend.  

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Are Republicans plotting to politicize Iowa redistricting?

The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group focused on state legislative elections, hopes to win control of the Iowa House and Senate in order to “neutralize” Iowa’s nonpartisan redistricting, according to a July 2010 strategy memo of the RSLC’s “REDMAP” program. The memo (pdf) sets a goal of creating “20-25 new Republican Congressional Districts through the redistricting process.” Iowa is among 12 states targeted in the REDMAP program, because our state will lose one of its five Congressional districts after the 2010 census.

The REDMAP Political Report says in a chart on page 6 that if Republicans win the Iowa House and Senate, the “Congressional impact” would be to “neutralize the redistricting process,” since Iowa’s legislature “can override” the state’s redistricting commission. In our state’s unique redistricting system, the Legislative Services Agency prepares a map using

only population data to propose districts that are as close to equal and as compact as possible.

They are banned from considering data such as voter registration or voter performance, and they don’t have access to the addresses of incumbent legislators and congressmen until after the map is prepared.

The legislature can accept or reject the proposed map, but cannot amend it. If the RSLC is suggesting that Democrats would tamper with redistricting unless Republicans win control of the state legislature, their fear-mongering is misguided. Speaking to Mike Glover of the Associated Press last month, Democratic House Speaker Pat Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal confirmed that they will not attempt to change the redistricting system.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley and House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen also praised Iowa’s redistricting process in comments to Glover. But the RSLC memo leaves open the question of whether a Republican-controlled legislature would seek to override the commission. In 2001, the Republican-controlled Iowa legislature rejected the Legislative Services Agency’s first map but accepted the second. Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 described the objections raised against the first 2001 redistricting proposal.

Since Iowa Republican leaders are eager to tamper with our state’s highly regarded judicial selection process, it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to mess around with our redistricting too.

The best way to prevent Republican interference with next year’s redistricting is to keep them in the Iowa House and Senate minority. I encourage Bleeding Heartland readers to volunteer for or donate to one or more Democratic candidates in statehouse districts. (It’s easy to contribute through ActBlue.) The following candidates in competitive races could especially use your help:

Democratic incumbents targeted by Republicans: McKinley Bailey (HD 9), John Beard (HD 16), Andrew Wenthe (HD 18), Doris Kelley (HD 20), Gene Ficken (HD 23), Donovan Olson (HD 48), Eric Palmer (HD 75), Nathan Reichert (HD 80), Phyllis Thede (HD 81), Larry Marek (HD 89), Curt Hanson (HD 90), Mike Reasoner (HD 95), Rich Olive (SD 5), Bill Heckroth (SD 9), Staci Appel (SD 37), Becky Schmitz (SD 45).

Democratic candidates defending open seats: David Dawson (HD 1), Chris Hall (HD 2), John Wittneben (HD 7), Susan Bangert (HD 8), Kurt Meyer (HD 14), Anesa Kajtazovic (HD 21), Mary Wolfe (HD 26), Dan Kelley (HD 41), Shari Carnahan (HD 84), Rick Mullin (SD 1), Tod Bowman (SD 13).

Democrats running for Republican-held seats: Selden Spencer (HD 10), Mark Seidl (HD 37), Dan Muhlbauer (HD 51), Andrew McDowell (HD 59), Scott Ourth (HD 74), Kurt Hubler (HD 99).

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Heads up on the next round of Iowa redistricting

Iowa’s “unique” redistricting process is about to begin, and Mike Glover provides an overview for the Associated Press.

That [non-partisan] Legislative Services Agency prepares a map of new congressional and legislative districts, and that initial map must be submitted to the Legislature by April 1. In preparing the map, staffers can use only population data to propose districts that are as close to equal and as compact as possible.

They are banned from considering data such as voter registration or voter performance, and they don’t have access to the addresses of incumbent legislators and congressmen until after the map is prepared. Once the map is drawn, they go back and figure out which lawmakers are in which district.

“Many things make the Iowa process unique, including the prohibition on the use of political data,” [Tim] Storey [of the National Conference of State Legislatures] said. […]

The Legislature can’t amend the first plan, only vote it up or down. If it’s voted down, staffers will prepare a second, also not subject to amendment. If that plan is rejected, staffers start again and prepare a third plan, which can be amended.

Bleeding Heartland will closely follow the upcoming redistricting. The new Congressional district lines will receive the most media attention, because Iowa is almost certain to lose one of its five Congressional districts. The new Iowa House and Senate district lines will alter the careers of many state legislators and could affect which party controls the upper and lower chambers after 2012.

Last year Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 wrote a must-read piece on the 2001 redistricting process in Iowa. That post also looked at three of the many possible ways Iowa could be drawn into four Congressional districts. The redrawn third district, containing much of the Des Moines area, is likely to be a battleground seat in 2012.

UPDATE: I forgot to link to this guest post by possumtracker1991, who tried to figure out what Iowa’s four Congressional districts might look like if we had politicized redistricting. As ludicrous as that map is, it’s no sillier than some real maps used in states like Pennsylvania and Florida.  

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New statistics on Latino population growth in Iowa

William Petroski published a good article in yesterday’s Des Moines Register about Latino population growth in Iowa. I recommend clicking through to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Iowa’s Latino population totaled 134,402 for the 12 months ending July 1, 2009. That was up 5 percent, or an increase of 6,488 people, compared to a year earlier.

Over the past two decades, Iowa’s Latino population has quadrupled. […]

Besides immigration from other countries and migration from other states, two key factors are driving growth: Most Latinos moving to Iowa are young people, and they have high fertility rates, said Sandra Burke, a demographer at Iowa State University’s Community Vitality Center. At least half or more of the growth of Iowa’s Latino population is from births, she said.

The median age of Iowa Latinos is 22.9 years, while the median age for all Iowans is 38, according to the State Data Center of Iowa. Meanwhile, the average family size for Iowa Latinos is 3.5, while the average family size among all Iowans is 2.9.

A wonderful place to raise a family

Many Latinos are joining family members already here, said Sandra Sanchez of Des Moines, chairwoman of the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs.

“Iowa is really a wonderful place to raise a family,” often better than in large cities such as Los Angeles or Chicago, said Sanchez, who is also director of the Immigrant Voice Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

Latinos now make up about 4.5 percent of Iowa’s population. This map at the Des Moines Register’s site shows the raw population numbers and percentages for all 99 counties. Nearly a quarter of Iowa’s Latino population lives in Polk County, containing Des Moines and most of its suburbs.

In absolute numbers, the ten Iowa counties with the largest Latino populations are Polk, Woodbury, Scott, Muscatine, Marshall, Linn, Johnson, Buena Vista, Pottawatamie and Dallas.

The Iowa counties with the largest percentage of Latino residents are Crawford and Buena Vista (tied at 22 percent), Louisa (17 percent), Marshall (16 percent), Muscatine (15 percent), Franklin (14 percent), Woodbury (12 percent), Wright (10 percent), and Allamakee (9 percent). In addition, Latinos comprise at least 5 percent of the population in eleven other counties. See the Register’s map for county numbers from the latest census estimates.  

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