District Deviations: Change Is Coming

Get ready to learn new district lines for the State Senate and House later this year. The apportionment data release last month provided the 2020 state population. This allowed me to calculate the new ideal population for each congressional district and each state legislative district. The new ideal population per district for the Georgia State Senate is 191,884. In the House, the new ideal population rises to 59,511. When the detailed census data is released later this year the districts will need to be redrawn with these population targets in mind.

2010 Census2020 Census
Statewide Population9,687,65010,711,908
U.S. House Districts691,975765,136
State Senate Districts172,994191,884
State House Districts53,82059,511

To give you an idea of which districts might expand or contract I created the two maps below. I used the 2019 Census Bureau ACS (American Community Survey) population estimate for each district. The color of each district is determined by its 2019 population deviation from the new ideal population target population. Darker colors indicate a greater deviation than lighter colors.

As the maps show, significant change is likely for nearly every district. The 2019 ACS estimate for the state population was within 100K of the actual 2020 Georgia population figure released last month. The estimates for district population are likely close to 2020 figures census figures well. While these maps are useful to get an idea of how districts might need to expand or contract, we won’t know anything definitive for several months.

If you would like to learn more about the redistricting process for not only federal and state legislative districts but for county and city districts as well, check out this video from the Northeast Georgia County Managers’ meeting with Gina Wright, Executive Director of the Georgia Office of Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment.

If the recent experience with SB 202 is any guide then there will be no shortage of attacks and misinformation in the coming months denouncing any map developed by the legislature as racist and blatant gerrymandering. The last egregious gerrymander in Georgia came from a Democratic legislature, not the GOP. District two Representative Steve Tarvin recently shared a history lesson on the last time the Democrats were in charge. They’re the party of fairness in redistricting huh?


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