|Redistricting Process: Legislative||Population Change (since 2000): 656,822|
|Legislature: Republican||Seats: 9|
|Governor: Bill Haslam (R)||Members of Congress: 7R, 2D|
|Party Control: Republican||2012: 39% Obama, 59.5% Romney|
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New Districts by Party Representation
2010 Redistricting Changes: Tennessee Holds Its Nine Seats
Tennessee Holds Its Nine Seats
Between 2000 and 2010 Tennessee’s population rose from 5,689, 283 to 6,346,105, with cities like Nashville growing by up to 10%. According to the changes, the ideal population for each of the nine congressional districts would be 705,123 people. While the state did not grow enough to acquire another congressional representative, the significant growth did affect how the population would be distributed into different districts. Republicans gained majority of the state House and Senate as well as the governor’s seat in 2010. Thus, the party acquired significant influence in determining the congressional redistricting map. In addition, there is no preclearance requirement and the governor ultimately decides whether to pass or veto the new map. On January 6, 2012 the State Legislature produced a map, and many Democrats worried that the GOP members would push a map that favored eight seats held by Republicans and only a single district to be solidly left-leaning. However, the final map did not show any signs of gerrymandering. Rather, Democrats responded well to the changes as two of the districts they held actually became more left-leaning. In fact, there were no legal challenges to the map. The State Senate passed the map the following day by a 24-9 vote.
Tennessee’s districts overall did not undergo as many changes as anticipated with a single party controlling the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature. Rather, the general trend was that districts condensed and their stretching limbs retracted into their bodies. Districts Three, Four, and Seven all witnessed these changes, with the Fourth seeing the most radical change. The map reduced the number of split counties and more fairly drew contiguous districts without bottlenecks
Tennessee’s First District includes Carter, Cock, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, part of Jefferson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties. It saw very little change in the new map. In fact, its east and southern borders remained entirely unchanged. However, the population of the district grew by 21,000. As a result, the northwest corner shrunk into the district, losing areas north of the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge. Otherwise the district kept most of Sevierville and its outskirts. The district is predominantly White, with non-white ethnicities only accounting for approximately 5% of the total population. African Americans only account for 2.2% of that minority. Educational Services and Manufacturing serve as the two largest industries within the district, accounting for over a quarter of the population working in industry.
The Second District saw significant change between 2000 and 2010 as the population decreased by over 18,000 people. As a result, the district’s geography expanded significantly to the north, stretching all the way to the Kentucky border. The district gained all of its new counties from the Third District, which had previously wrapped around its eastern, northern, and southern borders. The Second District gained the majority of its new acquisitions from Jefferson, Grainger, Claiborne, and a small portion of the northeast corner of Campbell Counties. It lost McMinn and Monroe Counties to the Third District. The population of the district was 710,098 residents, 668,551 of which are of a single race. Of that, whites represent 89.7% of the population. Though the district is more diverse than some of the others in the state, Asians still only represent 1.3% of the population.
The Third District changed significantly following the 2010 census, becoming more stretched north-south than its previous wrapping around the Second District. However, it still bottlenecks between Loudon (District Two) and Meigs (District Four) and the northern tip of McMinn County and the small southern border of Roane County connects the southern and northern parts of the district. Otherwise, the district traded a few counties with the Second District. In return for giving District Two parts of Jefferson, Grainger, and Claiborne Counties, it gained both McMinn and Monroe Counties from its southern half. In addition, the district expanded significantly in its northern half, even gaining counties from District Six. Those counties included Campbell, Scott, Morgan, and Roane. However, it also lost counties to the Sixth District, giving it Rhea, Meigs, and the northern part of Bradley. One of the smallest of all Tennessee congressional districts, the Third had a population of 680,072 residents. The district is much more diverse than both the first and second congressional districts, for whites only account for 85% of the population. Furthermore, African Americans account for over 11% of the population.
The Fourth District shrank more than any other district in the state. Before the new map was enacted in 2012, the district stretched a wider distance than any other congressional district in the state, and even had parts on both the northern and southern borders. The Fourth lost Roane, Morgan, Scott, and Campbell Counties to District Three. However, it gained Rhea, Meigs, and the northern part of Bradley County in return. The Fourth Congressional District maintained the same u-shape, though the entire hook shifted eastwards. Smaller than other districts, the Fourth Congressional District’s population is 679,000 people. The district is more homogenous than others in the state, with whites representing 92.7% of the population and African Americans, the next largest represented group, only representing 3.8%.
While the Fifth District is one of the smallest in the state, it is home of the capital, Nashville. Interestingly, in the 2002 map the district did not span a single entire county. Rather it was a conglomerate of 3 separate counties. The majority of the Fifth District lay in Davidson County, while it also included the eastern sliver of Cheatham County and the northwestern corner of Wilson County. In the 2012 map the district filled out much more, losing its eastern stretches and shifting west. In fact, it lost both its stretches in Wilson County as well as a northern part of Davidson County to the Sixth District. However, it took Dickinson County from District Eight. The district had a population of 688,469 according to the 2010 census. It is one of the most diverse districts, with African Americans representing over a quarter of the district’s population, and whites only accounting for 67.7% of it.
The Sixth District saw one of the largest population changes between 2000 and 2010, falling by over 80,000 residents. In response it needed to expand geographically, and the 2012 map drew a district that included a different balance of counties. In fact, it was one of the few districts that expanded both east and west. However, it did shift west and was even able to maintain its tail that dipped into central Tennessee. From the Fourth District it gained five entire counties, including White, Cumberland, Fentress, Pickett, and Coffee. However, in exchange, Bedford, Rutherford, and Marshall Counties were all redistricted into the Fourth. Finally, the Sixth was able to gain the western half of Wilson County from District Five. It has a White population of 87.6%.
Before the 2012 map was passed, the Seventh District snaked all the way from the southwest corner of Tennessee through the central part of the state. Like the previous Third District, District Seven contained small parts of many counties. In the new map, the Seventh District widened and gained more full counties in its northeast reaches. While it expanded significantly on its east end, the district lost counties on it west side to District Eight. The Seventh District’s population grew to 766,798 by 2010, with the White population accounting for over 80% of the residents. While African Americans represent almost 15% of the population, Asians only represent 2.4% of the community.
The Eighth District shrunk in the 2012 map. While most of the counties that were transferred out of the district went into the Seventh District, it did gain a couple of counties from the same district. Otherwise the district maintained a very similar shape, almost inverting itself around its diagonal axis. In addition, it kept the entire northwest corner of the state within the district. Receding in its northeast corner, the district lost Dickson, Humphrey, almost all of Benton except for a small part of the northwest corner, Houston, Stewart and part of Montgomery Counties to the Seventh District. In its southwest corner, the district took part of Shelby, and Fayette Counties from District Seven. Growing to 656,125 by 2010, the district’s population is one of the more diverse districts within the state. However, while African Americans account for almost a quarter of the population of the district, Asians only comprise 0.5% of the residents and other minorities have even smaller populations.
The Ninth District changed less than almost any other. The district is comprised almost entirely of the Memphis metropolitan area. It saw the least expansion out of any other district in the state, and was the only one not to lose any land in the 2012 map. In addition, the district is the only one that does not span an entire county – rather, it is only a fraction of Shelby County. However, the district did expand on its north end, and took the southern section of District Eight Overall, the district comprised approximately the western two-thirds of the state, and has a jagged eastern edge. Unlike many of the state’s other districts, the Ninth Congressional District is very densely populated and residents predominantly live in urban areas. In addition, the district is different in that the African American population is a strong majority. In fact, Caucasians and Latino-Whites only account for a little above 30% of the population. African Americans comprise over 60% of the district’s residents. Finally, the district has the second largest Asian representation, with the minority serving as almost 2% of the population.