Thursday, August 12, 2021

No surprise, but Census shows Dane County bigger, MKE smaller, and lots of map-drawing to come

Today was the big release of Census data that'll be used to go into redistricting and allocations of resources and a lot of other stuff. I'm going to wait till I see an easier way to download the data to do more with it, but I can make some high-level observations.

First of all, Dane County reiterated itself as the leading source of growth in a state that didn't add a lot of people in the 2010s.
More than one-third of Wisconsin's population growth over the last decade occurred in Dane County, in and around Madison. The county grew by 15% to add more than 73,000 people — the highest county-level increase in the state — with the city of Verona experiencing some of the fastest growth at 32%.
In fact, Dane County was 1 of only 2 Wisconsin counties that had population growth of more than 10% between 2010 and 2020. The other was St. Croix County, which was one of several high-growth counties around the Twin Cities.

But while population boomed in Dane County, Wisconsin's largest city had a large loss of people.
Meanwhile, the state's largest city has hit its lowest population since 1930. Milwaukee's population fell to 577,222 — a drop of about 17,000 people since 2010. Milwaukee County also saw a tiny population decrease of less than a percentage point.
Conversely, those numbers mean that the Milwaukee County suburbs grew by around 9,000, and the WOW Counties also had decent growth (between 3.7% and 5.9%). The Green Bay/Appleton areas had decent growth, and as you can see above, a lot of rural counties lost out.

With Dane County accounting for more than 36% of the whole state's population growth, that means in any kind of a legitimate Legislative map, Dane should get at least one entire new Assembly district located within its borders. But this also means that City of Milwaukee's representation in the Legislature will be even smaller, and if you look at this guy's map, the biggest losses were in minority-centered districts.

I was not surprised to see Assembly Speaker Robbin' Vos and the rest of the legislative Republicans to be excited about the release of the data (gerrymandering is that guy's life work, along with money-shuffling scams). But I was surprised to see him and the rest of the Assembly GOP make a public gesture to bring the public into being part of the discussion.

Polling must be terrible for WisGOP on gerrymandering (and other things) if Vos is trying to avoid looking like the power-obsessed lowlife we all know him to be. But hey, I'll take the added interest. The Legislature's website looks like a copy of what Governor Evers' People's Maps Commission did, but hey, click on there and fill it out. They don't have the 2020 data up yet, but that'll come soon.

On the Congressional side, the biggest wildcard in Wisconsin's redistricting will come with the swingy 3rd District. Current Rep. Ron Kind isn't even going to find out what that district looks like, as he announced yesterday that he will not run for re-election in 2022, but there are serious choices to be made in what places make up WI-3.

As you can see, GOPs pitchforked the Dem-voting city of Stevens Point into Kind's district in 2011, with the idea that they'd trade a safer Dem seat for guaranteed wins in the surrounding 6th and 7th districts. Little did GOPs know that Western and Central Wisconsin would shift toward the GOP, especially in the Trump era.

Oddly, the 3rd District could stay basically the same for the 2020s, because its population is right in line with how many people should be in a district. But Mark Pocan's Madison-based District 2 has to shrink by a lot (which borders 3) and Gwen Moore's Milwaukee-based District 4 will need to take on much more area, so that'll obviously affect everyone else.

Dave's Redistricting and other sites will have the full precinct data up in the next week, and I'll draw up my modifications right after that. We need to do this on our own, because it'll help us identify just how BS any gerrymander might be, and what choices they could have made, but chose not to.

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