|Redistricting Process: Legislative||Population Change (since 2000): 168,532|
|Legislature: Democratic||Seats: 5|
|Governor: Dannel Malloy (D)||Members of Congress: 5D|
|Party Control: Democratic||2012: 58.4% Obama, 40.4% Romney|
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New Districts by Party Representation
Redistricting Analysis: Connecticut Holds Steady With Five Seats
Between 2000 and 2010, Connecticut gained 4.9% in population, bringing the total population from 3,405,565 to 3,574,097. Connecticut is one of the three states where every county experienced population gain since 2000. However, the gains were not significant enough to increase the state’s five congressional seats. Less than 30,000 residents were affected by the latest redistricting changes.
Most of Connecticut’s limited growth was in the eastern half of the state. This redistricting cycle, each district required 714, 819 residents. This meant reducing the Second District by around 15,000 and increasing the First and Third Districts by approximately 4,000 and 2,000 residents respectively. However, Connecticut still saw its fair share of debate over the redistricting process, particularly around the redistricting of major cities such as Bridgeport. The state’s largest county, Fairfield County, had the slowest growth rate of any major region in the state: 3.9%. Meanwhile, the city of Norwalk experienced some large changes in demographics in the last decade, seeing a decrease in White residents of about 4%, a decrease in Black residents of about 3.75%, and notable increases in its Hispanic population of 60.1% and in its Asian population of 51.8%.
The large increases in Hispanic and Asian populations for the past decade are observed across the state as well. Connecticut has experienced a 64.7% increase in Asian population, and a 50% in Hispanic population. However, Black or African-American populations have not seen anywhere close to that kind of an increase, having only experienced an increase of 1%, from 9.1% to 10.1%. The population of the state is aging on average, as the percentage of persons over age 65 rose from approximately 13.8% in 2000 to 14.2% in 2010.
Connecticut’s redistricting lines are redrawn by a bipartisan “Reapportionment Committee” made up of eight legislators. The legislation must be passed by the House and the Senate and receive a 2/3 majority vote for approval in each chamber.
Currently, the Connecticut General Assembly is comprised of a Democratic House of Representatives and a Democratic Senate. The House has 151 members who are elected to two-year terms, and the Senate has 36 members who are elected to two-year terms.
This past redistricting cycle, the Reapportionment Committee missed the initial deadline in September 2011, prompting the committee to disband. Governor Dannel P. Malloy then reappointed the committee, adding a ninth tie-breaking member and extending the deadline for maps to November 30, 2011. However, by November 30, while state Senate and House redistricting plans had been approved, the committee had to seek an extension from the state Supreme Court until December 21, 2011 for the congressional plan. The committee did not meet the new deadline, causing the state Supreme Court to initiate the procedure to establish the Congressional Redistricting Plan, including the appointment of a special master. On February 10, 2012, the state Supreme Court adopted the Draft Report and Plan for Congressional Districts put forward by the special master.
Connecticut’s First District includes the state’s capital of Hartford, along with the north-central counties of Hartford, Litchfield, and Middlesex. Hartford is the state’s third-largest city with a population of about 124,800. Hartford and its metropolitan area have seen increased poverty in the last decade. In 2010, Hartford had a core city poverty rate of at least four times that of its suburbs. Demographically, the district has maintained a predominantly White population over the last decade, around 70%. Its Black or African American population and Asian populations have increased only slightly, about 1% and 2% respectively. Hispanic or Latino populations have seen similar increases from 13.1% to 14.7%.
In the latest redistricting cycle, only 524 people were moved from District 1 to District 5, and the city of Torrington was the only town split between District 1 and District 5.
Connecticut’s Second District is located in the eastern third of the state, including the less-populated counties of New London, Tolland, and Windham. Whites went from 89.1% to 87.5%. The Black or African American population has also only experienced small changes, from 4.2% to 3.9%. Asian populations have increased from 1.9% to 2.9%. Hispanic or Latino populations have also increased from 4.7% to 6.7%.
District 2 received the most attention during the most recent redistricting cycle because it was the most malapportioned under the old plan. Under the 2000 redistricting, both towns of Durham and Glastonbury were split. Under the new plan, Durham was united and its 5,193 residents were moved from District 2 into District 3. The town of Glastonbury remained split, and 9,759 Glastonbury residents were moved from District 2 to District 1. These two shifts contributed the most to reducing the district’s overall population by the necessary 15,000.
Connecticut’s Third District is located in the central part of the state and is centered on New Haven and its suburbs. The demographic changes in District 3 are fairly similar in size to the other districts: a decrease in White population from 77.1% to 75.1%, and increase in Black or African American population from 12.9% to 13.3%, an almost unchanged Hispanic population at around 12.5%, and a decrease in Asian population from 4.2% to 3.9%.
Since the town of New Haven and its suburbs consistently vote Democratic, the district is very Democratic in local and federal elections. The district has voted for a Democratic representative for the last 11 election cycles.
Connecticut’s Fourth District is in the southwestern part of the state. It is mostly comprised of suburbs, but includes the largest city in the state, Bridgeport, with a population of 145,638. Though the district has consistently had a majority White population, around 73%, it has a greater Black or African American population than many other districts, though the population has decreased over the past decade from 13.4% to 12.0%. Asian populations, meanwhile, have increased from 3.5% to 4.7%. Hispanic populations have experienced the largest increases, from 14.8% to 17.5%.
The biggest shift to the district was moving 8,079 Shelton residents from the Third District into the Fourth District. However, all other changes were extremely modest. The magnitude of these changes suggests that political outcomes will not be greatly affected by redistricting. However, the district has recently experienced shifts in elections with Democrat Jim Himes elected to the congressional seat in 2008, defeating Republican Chris Shays, who had occupied the congressional seat since 1987.
Connecticut’s Fifth District runs from Meriden to New Britain and is in the northwestern part of the state. Though the district is considerably less diverse than some of the other districts, its White population has decreased fairly substantially from 85.3% to 80.7%. Meanwhile, the Black and African American population has increased marginally from 6.4% to 6.7%. The Hispanic population is up by over five percentage points, from 10.0% to 15.6%. Asian populations, though increasing, only went up by less than a percent and currently make up 3.1% of the district’s overall population.
The district’s distinctive shape is the result of the state losing a seat in the 2000 redistricting cycle and its merging with the now non-existent Sixth District. However, District 5 required the least alteration in the latest redistricting cycle, with the only change being the addition of 524 people by adjusting the city of Torrington’s boundaries. Though the district has historically voted Republican, it has had a Democrat in its congressional seat since 2004.