Pennsylvania Census: Extra City and Latino Affect, and a Shrinking White Vote Rely | information
PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania – and its politics – are moving in two different directions.
New census data shows that metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg are growing – sometimes significantly – thanks to sharp increases in Latin American, Asian, and multiracial residents. In the meantime, largely white rural areas are shrinking in population and influence.
Pennsylvania grew by about 300,000 people in the past decade, but most of that was concentrated in cities and suburbs.
“The gap is pretty big, and it really is regionally divided,” said JJ Balaban, a Democratic strategist from Philadelphia.
The shifts reflect national trends showing growth in denser, more diverse, and generally more liberal areas, while conservative rural areas are shrinking – but retaining power thanks to a political system that often disproportionately represents them. The decade of changes in the data helps explain some of the demographic, economic, and cultural differences that define much of American politics today.
“One of the reasons we’re kind of stuck in this political moment is because the population and economy are growing and concentrated in these metropolitan areas, but politics disproportionately favor these more rural areas,” said Michael Jones-Correa, a University of Pennsylvania professor who studied Latino Politics.
Pennsylvania is still nearly three-quarters white, above the national average, which helps Republicans who rely heavily on white voters.
However, if the trends of the past decade continue, they suggest where state politics could go as the Philadelphia area gains even more influence, more political power among coloreds, especially Latino communities, and new battlefields emerge.
These factors could affect national politics as early as next year when Pennsylvania hosts Senate and Representative races that could help determine who controls both chambers. And last week’s census data was released for one primary purpose: to use it to redefine Pennsylvania’s congressional and legislative districts and shape power for the next decade.
Here are some details about the dates and what they can mean:
• Philadelphia and the suburbs of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties added more than 209,000 people in the past decade.
That’s a 5.22% increase while the rest of the state only grew 1.05%.
And the area has marched to the left, helping the state elect President Joe Biden.
About half of the votes in a Democratic primary now come from the Philadelphia area, Balaban said, giving him massive influence in races like the one that is already developing for the 2022 nomination for the US Senate.
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Of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, the five that gave Biden 55% or more of their votes grew by 215,100 people over the past decade. The 52 counties that voted at least 55% for Trump fell by 30,500.
Still, members of both parties said the postponements were not enough to decisively overturn the state. The decade of change was already baked into the 2020 election, which saw a close presidential race and GOP victories in major down-voting competitions.
“Parties adapt to reality,” said Mark Harris, a Republican strategist from Pittsburgh. “Philadelphia has grown, but the Republicans in the city of Philadelphia have done better and that’s one of the reasons why” [ Republicans] were able to win further across the country. Demography is not fate. “
However, Republicans admitted that winning nationwide could become more difficult if the population continues to grow. However, they were different in how to react.
Pennsylvania’s white population declined by more than 500,000. The numbers rose for Hispanic (by 330,000), Asian (161,000), Black (42,000), and multiracial (273,000) residents.
Some Republicans point to former President Donald Trump’s relative improvement in black and Latin American voters in 2020, arguing that it shows a way forward if the GOP is not just the working-class whites’ party – Trump’s grassroots – but one “Multicultural working class” can become “basis, as one strategist put it.
The new battlefield?
Some of the state’s most significant gains came in areas around Harrisburg such as Dauphin, York, Cumberland and Lancaster Counties. They’re mostly GOP strongholds, but the Democrats are winning votes.
“It is becoming the state’s battlefield,” said Ben Forstate, a Democratic analyst from Pittsburgh. “A lot of the people moving to these suburbs are more diverse, they are younger and look more like the voters rising up in the Democrats.” [ Philadelphia] Collar circles. “
But it’s still far from a point where Democrats can win nationwide (except for Dauphin, where they have succeeded).
Still, Balaban said even if the Democrats don’t win the counties, that area can play an increasing role in the party’s primaries for the governor and senate in 2022 and provide a tranche of Democratic votes in the general election.
Changes within counties could result in more Democrats in the statehouse, Forstate noted.
The Hispanic population in Pennsylvania grew 45.8%, which resulted in the strongest growth in the state. When Philadelphia’s white and black populations fell, the Latino surge accounted for two-thirds of the city’s total population growth.
Pennsylvania now has 1.05 million Hispanic and Latino residents, up from 720,000 a decade ago.
Lucerne County’s population grew by less than 5,000, but the number of Latinos rose by 25,000, offsetting a sharp decline in the white population. In Lehigh County, the Latino population grew by more than 31,000.
And growth is not concentrated in one area. Some have been moved to the Lehigh Valley from more expensive places like New York and New Jersey, Jones-Correa said, while others migrated to places like Lancaster County for agricultural jobs. Cities, he said, have attracted both university-educated migrants and workers who work in construction, work in restaurants, and clean houses.
Latinos now make up 8.1% of the state’s population while non-Hispanic blacks make up 10.5%.
David Dix, a strategist who has worked with candidates from both parties, said politicians need to tailor their approach to a large demographic that includes people from a variety of national backgrounds and political views.
“I have not yet seen the Democratic Party with a clear strategy to engage this section of the population that the census told us is expanding and will take effect in the 2022 elections,” Dix said.
2020 Democrats were stabbed nationwide and in Pennsylvania as Trump gained ground with Latinos. Nationwide, it won 41% of non-college Latino voters nationwide, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, and Republicans hope to build on that success.
Restrict the effects
Pennsylvania is set to lose a seat in the US House of Representatives because it hasn’t grown as fast as the rest of the country, and the latest data offers some clues as to high-stakes state redistribution. The new lines drawn after each census could help shape Pennsylvania’s house districts and, in turn, which party will have the upper hand in the 2022 midterms.
Each of the new districts must grow from 722,000 to around 765,000 people. The changes could put some established companies at risk.
For example, the Scranton district, held by Democratic MP Matt Cartwright, needs to grow by about 52,000 people. The borough is already sloping to the right, and most of the area it could expand into is even more conservative.
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Democratic MPs Susan Wild of Lehigh County and Chrissy Houlahan of Chester County could stand on more solid foundations. Their districts are closer to the required population size. Aside from massive political interference, the counties may not need to change much – making it harder for Republicans to add more conservative territory.
Meanwhile, Republican counties could see significant changes, particularly in the deep red central, southwest and northwest parts of the state, where the population has declined dramatically. Five of the current Republican-held districts have at least 70,000 voters behind the new size requirement. Democrats argue that areas that are losing people should also lose seats in the House of Representatives – a move that could force two GOP districts to merge and effectively eliminate one Republican seat.
Congressional lines are negotiated by the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
State House and Senate districts are re-elected by a five-person commission made up of Democratic and Republican leaders from both chambers and a tiebreaker, University of Pittsburgh Chairman Mark A. Nordenberg, appointed by the state’s Supreme Court .
Because these districts are smaller than those of Congress, they can feel a greater population shift.
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