|Redistricting Process: Legislative (No Veto)||Population Change (since 2000): 1,486,170|
|Legislature: Republican||Seats: 13|
|Governor: Pat McCrory (R)||Members of Congress: 9R, 4D|
|Party Control: Republican||2012: 62.6% Obama, 36.0% Romney|
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New Districts by Party Representation
2010 Redistricting Changes: North Carolina Remains at Thirteen Seats Despite Rapid Growth
Between 2000 and 2010, North Carolina’s population grew at a rate of 18.5%, nearly twice the nation’s average. Despite this rapid growth, the state did not gain or lose any seats in the reapportionment following the 2010 census. This meant that North Carolina would maintain its fifteen electoral votes, two for the senate and thirteen for the house. Yet far from being easy, the mandated redistricting process was a complicated and contentious affair.
This was due to the state’s uneven population growth and movement within the state. While the state as a whole grew by 18.5%, certain cities experienced more rapid growth. For example, the three largest cities in the state, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensborough, grew at a rate of 35.2%, 46.3%, and 20.4% respectively. Uneven growth resulted in vastly unrepresentative congressional district. The Ninth District, which housed part of Charlotte, was above the ideal population by 16.2% while the First District was 13.3% the average. Additionally, demographic shifts, while not as pronounced as other states, necessitated a reevaluation of North Carolina’s existing districts.
North Carolina experienced only modest demographic changes over the past decade. The single-race White population, which previously comprised 72.1% , has fallen to 68.5%. The second largest ethnic group, the African American population previously made up 21.6% of the total population, which remained nearly unchanged at 21.5%. The largest change however, was the increasing population of Hispanics and Latinos. Their share of the population nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010, rising from 4.7% to 8.4%.
In North Carolina, redistricting is treated like any other piece of legislation, and passed to the General Assembly. These bills are first introduced through committees in their respective houses before being debated, amended, and finally ratified by the legislature. Unlike normal legislation, however, redistricting plans are not subject to the Governor’s veto, but must be approved by the US Justice Department. As in other states, legislators are bound by various constraints including the state constitution and the Voting Rights Act to consider several factors within their deliberations. These include: equal population, consideration of minorities, contiguity, and minimizing divided counties.
North Carolina Republicans controlled both houses in the state, giving them a decisive advantage while planning districts. During deliberations, North Carolina’s House consisted of 68 Republicans and 52 Democrats. The Senate was comprised of 33 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Between 2001 and 2011 however, North Carolina’s congressional districts were predominantly held by Democrats.
In early 2010, politicians began forming committees to draft redistricting legislation. The North Carolina Senate Redistricting Committee was composed of ten Republicans and four Democrats. The house committee was comprised of twenty-three Republicans, ten Democrats, and one independent. On July 1, 2011, the General assembly released their first proposed maps. According to estimates, the plan would have netted three or four GOP seats. Almost immediately, Democrats derided the plan, calling it “regressive,” shameful, and disappointing
Revisions only served to alienate Democrats further, pitting four Democratic incumbents against each other. Nevertheless, the General Assembly approved plans to the revised maps. The Senate bill was approved 27-19 while the House voted with 68-51. After gaining preclearance from the Department of Justice, the maps became law.
On November 4, 2011 Democrats filed suit against congressional plans, arguing that the maps violated that state and US constitutions. Among their assertions were that that maps illegally packed minority groups, notably the African American populations, into just a few districts. The court ultimately rejected the challenges.
District One is located in mostly in the northeastern part of North Carolina. On March 30, 2012, the National Journal included it on the list of the top ten most contorted congressional districts due to redistricting. There are finger-like protrusions into the Third District. The First District’s population is 52% Black, the highest percentage of any district in the state, and is solidly Democratic. On the other hand, the Third District is only 17.9% Black and votes mainly Republican. The district is mostly composed of rural land area and it is among the poorest districts in the nation. The population is 619,178. The top five large cities in descending order are Greenville, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Goldsboro, and Elizabeth City.
With respect to demographics, 44.21% of the residents are White, 50.9% are Black, 3.94% are Hispanic, 0.5% are Asian, and 0.7% are American Indian. The gender ratio is curious and notable. In 2006, there were 55,000 more female voters than male voters. This is a greater disparity than in any other congressional district in the state.
Additionally, The First District is home to three military instillations including Marine Corps Air Station (Cherry Point), Coast Guard Station (Elizabeth City), and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
District Two islocated in the central and eastern parts of the state. It includes Randolph, Chatham, Lee, Moore, Hoke, Cumberland, Harnett and Wake Counties
In the Second District 2, 71.3%% of the residents are White, 16.5% are Black, 10.6% are Hispanic, 3.2% are Asian/ Pacific Islander and 4.87% Other. The Hispanic population has grown to 10% because many Latinos flock to jobs in the meat processing factories, but many are not registered to vote.
Located on the Atlantic coast, the Third District spans from the northeastern Currituck down to Hanover County. Its biggest university is East Carolina University, which has over 27,000 students. It covers the outer banks, prime vacation and retirement property, and shares most of eastern North Carolina with the First District. The Third District reaches deeply inland to include mostly White portions of Goldsboro and Greensville, where a pharmaceutical company is the biggest industrial employer.
The Third District’s population is 74.3% White, 16.7% Black, 6.4% Hispanic, 1.4% Asian/ Pacific Islander, and 2.6% Other. There are 27,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, but party registration is misleading as the district voted for George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008, and Romney in 2012.
The Fourth District covers much of the Research Triangle area, created by Luther Hodges who started the 6,900-acre research and development industrial park drawing from the three universities of North Carolina State in Raleigh, Duke in Durham, and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Because the Research Triangle attracts top R&D entities, the area has turned into a vibrant, affluent metropolis.
The district’s population is 53% White, 32.4% Black, 11.6% Hispanic, 5.2% Asian/ Pacific Islander, and 5.7% Other. District Four covers Durham, Alamance, Harnett, Cumberland and Chapel Hill’s Orange Counties, part of Chatham County to the south, and a slightly less than half of Wake County. The Democratic base is made up of two parts: the Black community (32.4% of the District’s population) and Whites and Blacks with postgraduate degrees. Durham and Orange are heavily Democratic except for a number of rural counties with large African-American percentages. On the other hand, the suburbs of Wake County are pretty heavily Republican to provide some counterweight. Black Enterprise magazine ranks the region as the third-best in the nation for African-Americans to live and work.
The Fifth District covers the northwestern corner of North Carolina from the Appalachian Mountains to the Piedmont Triad. It is largely an affluent area due to the region’s banking institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and high-skill Piedmont factories.
Demographically, the Fifth is made up of 79.3% White, 12,4% Black, 1.5% Asian/ Pacific Islander, 8.2% Hispanic and 4.9% Other. The $31 billion home-improvement giant, Lowe’s, is based in Wilkesboro. However, large parts of the region remain rural such as chicken-raising Wilkes County or Appalachian State University in Boone. The district is solidly Republican.
The Sixth District is located in the north central portion of the state and borders Virginia. Following the 2010 census, the Redistricting Committee North Carolina Senate shifted the district northward. It includes parts of Guilford, Alamance, Durham, Granville, and Orange Counties, and all of Caswell, Person, Rockingham, Surry, and Stokes Counties..
The district is 78.28% White, 14.71% Black, 5.67% Hispanic, 1.93% Asian, and 2.84% Other. The district is centered on greater Greensboro and High Point, which together cast about one-third of its votes. It includes Quaker-settled Randolph County, Moore County with its numerous golf courses, parts of furniture-manufacturing Davidson County, and most of textile-making Alamance County. Many of these areas are historically Republican. District Six has the highest share of registered Republicans in North Carolina.
The Seventh District is one of the larger districts in the state, and is located on the southern border of the state. The district is home to two state parks: Bladen Lakes State Forest and Carolina Beach State Park. Previously, the old seventh was shaped like a malformed U, surrounding the City of Clinton. Now however, it has expanded, losing the city of Wilmington and gaining northern territories in Sampson and Johnson Counties. In total, the district holds portions of eleven counties, with Johnson being the largest.
Demographically, the district is composed of 69.4% White, 18.3% African American and 9.3% Hispanic. The Voting Age population of the district is 559,822. A large proportion of those voters, 466,882 have registered to vote.
North Carolina’s Eighth District is located on the center of the state’s southern border. Prior to the redistricting process, the county was cut off at the north border of Montgomery and Stanly County. Now, however, the district has gained parts of Rowan and Davidson, stretching to the north. The district has parts of eleven different counties, with the most populous one being Cabarrus. Together, these counties combine to form a population of 733,499, matching the district’s ideal perfectly.
Demographically, the district is composed of 63.3% Caucasian, 18.7% African American and 8.4% Hispanic. This means that the Eighth is comparatively more diverse than North Carolina as a whole. The voting age population is 547,085, and has a demographic breakdown extremely similar to that of the overall population. Compared to other districts, voter registration is relatively low, with only 437,658 registered to vote.
North Carolina’s Ninth District occupies a small portion of the state’s southern border. During the last redistricting cycle, the district has lost significant amounts of territory in Cabarrus and Union County. Instead, the district has expanded to the north, gaining parts of Iredell County. The Ninth District is home to several highly populated cities, among them Mooresville, Huntersville, Pineville, and parts of Charlotte. Interestingly, the Ninth surrounds the central regions of Charlotte, and is connected by a narrow strip of land on the western edge of Mecklenburg County. Nevertheless, Mecklenburg remains the Ninth’s most populous county, accounting for 519,677 of the district’s total. The other two counties, Iredell and Union, account for 111,736 and 102,085 respectively. Despite its odd shape, the district has a total population of 733,498, just one less of the ideal population.
Like most of North Carolina, the Ninth is heavily Caucasian. 74.3% of residents are Caucasian, 13.4% are African American and 92.4% are Hispanic. 540,876 residents are eligible to vote and the majority of residents, 503,767, have registered to do so.
The Tenth District is part of North Carolina’s southern border, and comprises approximately a fourth of the state’s boundary between South Carolina. Previously, the district stretched the entire width of the state, touching Tennessee’s eastern edge. After the 2011 redistricting process, the district has changed, losing some of its northern territory and expanding towards Charlotte in the east. The district has parts of seven different counties: Gaston, Catawba, Buncombe, Cleveland, Lincoln, Rutherford, and Polk. These counties combine for a population of 733,499, which perfectly matches the ideal. The largest county is Gaston, which houses the 13th largest city in North Carolina: Gastonia.
Demographically, the district is heavily Caucasian, 79.69%. The next largest ethnic groups are African Americans at 11.55% and Hispanics at 5.63%. The total voting age population is 473,027. Approximately 39.28% of registered voters are Democrats. 35.60% are Republican, and 24.97% are undecided.
The Eleventh District is located on the western edge of North Carolina, bordering Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. The district has shrunk substantially following redistricting procedures, but nevertheless manages to be one of North Carolina’s largest districts. The Eleventh resembles its processor, but has lost Asheville and gained five northern counties. Together, these counties have a population of 733,499, matching the ideal perfectly. The population is relatively dispersed. The largest county by population is Buncombe County, which accounts for only 108,672 residents.
Overall, the district’s population is heavily Caucasian, 87.7% White. African Americans only make up 3.1% of the population and Hispanics 5.4%. The voting age population makes up a significant portion of district at 581,827. In total, 500,216 of the residents have registered to vote, a high proportion relative to other districts. The district is relatively even in terms of political party registration. Approximately 35.97% registered as Democratic and 37.43% are Republican. A significant proportion, 26.46%, have not declared a party preference.
North Carolina’s Twelfth District bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor. The narrow strip of land, which extends from Southern Charlotte to Greensborough has dipped towards Concord, but otherwise looks nearly identical to the 2001 district. The Twelfth District passes through many of North Carolina’s most populous districts, including Charlotte, Concord, Salem, Lexington, and Greensborough. Despite its small size, the district manages extend through six counties and holds 733,499 residents, matching the state ideal. The majority of these residents come from Guiford and Mecklenburg Counties which together. Mecklenburg, home of Charlotte, contributes over half of the district’s total population.
Demographically, the district is composed predominantly of African Americans, who are 50.76% of the total population. Whites are the next largest ethnic group, making up 29.06% of the total population. Hispanics trail at a distant third at just 14.27% of the population. 544,436 of the district’s residents are eligible to vote. Of the 445,685 registered voters, the majority identify with the Democratic party. 63.93% are registered Democratic compared to just 16.08% have Republican.
Located in the center of North Carolina, District Thirteen includes parts of 9 different counties: Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Nash, Vance, Wake, Wayne, and Wilson. The district has changed substantially from its predecessor, losing much of its northern territory. Instead, it now extends to more densely populated locations surrounding Raleigh. The Thirteen has a decidedly odd, quasi-crescent shape, created because it surrounds the majority of Raleigh. Notable cities within the district include Wake Forest, a rapidly growing suburb and original home of Wake Forest University as well as a small portion of Raleigh itself. In total, the district has 733,498 residents, just one less than the ideal population
Demographically, Whites comprise the largest majority, making up 70.93% of the population. The next largest demographic group is African Americans followed by Hispanics, who compose 16.98% and 7.96% of the population respectively. The voting population, which stands at 540, 681 is demographically similar to the district as a whole. Overall, 477,470 of eligible voters have registered to vote. 40.20% have identified with the Democratic Party while 35.80 have registered with the Republican Party.