While we await formal census data that will be required for the redistricting process to begin (likely in a special legislative session), we can get a “sneak peak” of the population changes that will necessitate new district lines.
Since legislative districts must legally include approximately the same number of people, areas that experience population growth will then be part of a geographically smaller district. In areas where population shrinks, the geographic size of the district will grow.
Growth continues in South Carolina’s urban communities and along the coast. Most notably, the Rock Hill area has exploded, so will gain representation. The flip side of the urban areas gaining representation is that rural areas that have lost population will lose representation. Districts along the I-95 corridor have lost population. Below is the chart showing population deviations in SC Congressional Districts, relative to 2010 (when we gained a 7th Congressional district because of high population growth relative to other states):
SC’s 1st congressional district, and its most politically competitive one, includes much of Charleston and Beaufort counties, areas which have experienced robust growth in the past decade.
While we are waiting for the census data, there is a lot of work to do. In the coming weeks, we will be publishing the criteria that we hope will be used to determine how new districts are drawn – watch this blog to be among the first to read the criteria. We will also be holding virtual public forums to educate citizens on how to analyze maps and how to advocate against gerrymandering.
Many thanks to John Ruoff for creating these population deviation charts using American Community Survey (ACS) data and for his continued guidance on all things redistricting. We highly recommend this series of short articles that Ruoff wrote for Women In Leadership.