The 2020 census results show a more diverse population across the United States — and marks the beginning of the fight over re-drawing Congressional districts. The redistricting process, which starts after each census, sets up a challenge between Democrats and the GOP, with both parties vowing to use the demographic data in order to grab or maintain their own political power.
The demographics that the census collects, which includes citizens’ self-identification of race and ethnicity, will be used not only to re-draw congressional districts, but also to enforce anti-oppression laws and policies. The results will last a decade, until the next census, in 2030.
Each state has their own timeline for redistricting, with some states in a rush to meet their deadlines. Colorado, for example, has an October 1 deadline for presenting new maps, while Michigan must have their plans in place by November 1.
U.S. becoming more diverse
The 2020 census findings indicate that the United States is becoming more and more diverse, with the White population falling below 60%, and increases in numbers of Black, Hispanic, and Asian citizens across the country. The census also confirmed an increase in urban and suburban living, while the rural population decreased.
These changes will likely favor the Democrats in elections, as minority populations and urban residents typically are less likely to vote for the GOP, who claim a vast number of older white voters, as well as rural citizens.
The census data and the subsequent redistricting is particularly important to the Democratic party, given their thin majority rule in Congress. However, many are also concerned that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to census question wording, underserved populations are not accounted for accurately.
Meanwhile, the census also helps to recalibrate the number of seats in the House of Representatives from each state. Texas, a Republican stronghold, gained two seats, while progressive California, along with Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan lost one seat each.
The new districts will go into effect before the midterm elections in 2022.