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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. 

redistricting census diverse
NBC News photo

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.  

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

2 replies on “Redistricting following more diverse 2020 census sets political battle”

  1. Yes, despite the clearly changing demographics the right will lie and cheat its way to retake the House by gerrymandering every state where it holds an already gerrymandered majority of state legislatures. Ever wonder how the Governor is Democrat and 9 out of 10 seats elect Republicans? The Koch Bros and ALEC had the right strategy. As we were taking the high road on issues they were campaigning hard to win control of the reapportionment process at the state level. Now, as nationally, we win the popular vote but lose seats. The Right says this is fine because we are NOT a democracy rather a Republic. Democracy is MOB rule they yell. We must end all one party rule in Oklahoma and so many other states small enough that money alone determines the winners.

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