Redistricting Process: Legislative Population Change (since 2000): 922,509
Legislature: Republican
Seats: 11
Governor: Bob McDonnell (R) Members of Congress: 8R, 3D
Party Control: Republican 2012: 50.8% Obama, 47.8% Romney

Map Instructions:

Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
Click on each district on the map to see more information.
Click the arrow button to switch between districts that are close together.
New Districts by Party Representative

2010 Redistricting Changes: Virginia Holds Steady With Eleven Seats

Old Districts by Partisan Voting Index with New District Outlines
Old Districts by Party Representation with New District Outlines

Virginia’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 outpaced that of the United States. The state grew 14.3% (compared to the United States’ 9.7%) over the course of the decade increasing from 7,078,515 to 8,096,604. Despite outpacing the national growth rate, Virginia did not gain any seat in reapportionment. As a result, Virginia’s ideal district population size increased from 643,501 to 736,054.

Much of Virginia’s population increase comes from a huge growth in the state’s Hispanic/Latino population. In 2000, Hispanic/Latinos made up 4.6% of the state’s population, whereas in 2010, they made up 7.8%, reflecting an increase of 68.3%. This growth was responsible for 30.6% of Virginia’s overall population growth between 2000 and 2010. Other demographic groups with above average growth are the state’s Black and Asian populations, which were responsible for 16.3% and 18.1% of the state’s total growth respectively. No demographic group experienced a population contraction.

Virginia is unique in that it has no overwhelmingly large population centers. Rather, it is a state with specific high-population zones. In the southeast, for instance, the combined cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Newport News make up one large; albeit spread out, population center. However, these population centers are not responsible for most of Virginia’s population growth. Rather, the largest areas of population growth came from cities and counties in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Loudon County, for instance, grew by 84.1% over the past decade, making it the fourth fastest growing county in the country. Counties such as Accomack and Grayson Counties that experienced population declines were mainly poorer and rural counties located far from any large population loci.

Virginia’s General Assembly completes all of the state’s redistricting independently. This time, however, Governor Bob McDonnell announced that an independent commission made up of private citizens and former state officials would advise the legislature on the process in order to “facilitate citizen input into the redistricting process”.[i] While the commission had no actual authority over the shape of the maps, they did have the ability to influence their shapes. Virginia’s redistricting is complicated by the fact that it has a requirement for a majority-minority district. These districts mandate that the majority of constituents in the district be of a certain racial minority.

Early in the process, Republican State Representative Bill Janis submitted a series of incumbent-friendly maps that was supported by both majority Republicans and minority Democrats in the House, which would have left the state’s lines mainly unchanged. However, Senate Democrats released their own proposal, which differed mainly by adding a second majority-minority district. As neither plan could pass without the support of the other house, Virginia remained without a Congressional district plan until the next general election, where Republicans captured enough seats in the State Senate to make it a 20-20 split. This, combined with a Republican Lieutenant Governor meant that state Republicans were able to finally pass their plan. In the end, Governor Bob McDonnell signed the same plan proposed by Representative Janis in 2011 into law. The Congressional plan was pre-cleared by the United States Department of Justice as part of the Voting Rights Act on March 28, 2012.

Virginia’s state constitution mandates that a redistricting plan be filed by the end of the year following the census. A group of residents filed suit in federal court and with the state supreme court over the fact that the new redistricting plan, which was passed in January of 2012, was unconstitutional. The lawsuits were thrown out of the state’s circuit court on January 25, 2012, and from federal court in February, 2012.

First District

The First District has remained largely unchanged from its previous incarnation; adding and losing only a few hundred square miles of area. The district is based on the eastern, coastal area of Virginia, and reaches from Newport News in the south, to Manassas in the north. It is 56 miles across at its widest point, which is between I-95 and Heathsville. The district is fairly diverse, with a 66.9% Caucasian population, 16.5% Black population, and a 7.8% Hispanic.

Second District

Like the First, the Virginia Second has remained largely unchanged in the new redistricting plan. It stretches from Virginia’s southern border, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the Delmarva Peninsula to the Maryland border. The district also extends west to encompass Naval Station Norfolk, Newport News, and Langley Air Force Base, all while skirting around the city of Hampton. The Second has a very similar racial breakdown to the First, in that it is 62.2% Caucasian, 21.5% Black, and 6.4% Hispanic.

Third District

The Virginia Third follows the James River from Norfolk to Richmond, with a slight southern extension to Petersburg. While the former Third is very similar to its current iteration, the new district includes the city of Petersburg, and excludes a 120 square mile north of Providence Forge. The Virginia Third is a majority-minority district, which means that it has an ethnic minority as a majority demographic in the district. The Third is 32.3% Caucasian, 56.6% Black, and 4.8% Hispanic.

Fourth District

The Virginia Fourth is a southeastern Virginia district that reaches from Chesapeake to Richmond. Suffolk, Emporia, Chester, Blackstone, and Powhatan anchor the district and define its shape. The main change between the previous Fourth district and the current iteration is the exclusion of Petersburg and a rural triangle of about 50 square miles northwest of Lawrenceville. The Fourth is 58.7% Caucasian, 30.9% Black, and 4.5% Hispanic.

Fifth District

The Fifth is a largely rural south-central district that extends from the North Carolina border to Front Royal. Its main cities are Danville, Moneta, and Charlottesville. The main changes to the district after the 2010 redistricting process is the loss of a 50 square mile zone surrounding the Martinsville area. Additionally, the district gained a large wedge of land north of Lawrenceville, and another rectangular space based around Sperryville, Warrenton, and Flint Hill. District Five is 72.3% Caucasian, 20.6% Black, and 3.1% Hispanic.

Sixth District

The Virginia Sixth is a slender, yet large district that runs near to the West Virginia border. It reaches from Roanoake in the south to Strasburg in the north. It reaches east for a short time to Lynchburg and Waynesboro. Before the 2010 redistricting process, the Sixth also included portions of suburban southwestern Roanoke and Covington. However, the district now also encompasses the rural towns of Front Royal and Luray. The Sixth is 80.2% Caucasian, 11.2% Black, and 4.1% Hispanic.

Seventh District

The Seventh is based in north Virginia, specifically near the borders of Maryland and West Virginia. The district is anchored by the cities of Culpeper, Orange, Spotsylvania, West Point, and Henrico. The Seventh formerly used to include the rural area surrounding Luray and Sperryville, but now includes the area north of Providence Forge. The Seventh District is 72.8% Caucasian, 14.6% Black, and 4.8% Hispanic.

Eighth District

The Eighth is a northeastern district that is comprised of the Washington Metropolitan Area and its suburbs. It follows the Potomac from Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge north to McLean, with its widest point being between Alexandria and Annandale. The Eighth has changed in a large part between the past two plans, though it is still centered on the Alexandria area. The main difference is the loss of suburban Reston and Wolf Trap, and the inclusion of the more rural space south of Mount Vernon. The Eighth is 52.7% Caucasian, 12.3% Black, and 15.7% Hispanic.

Ninth District

The Ninth has remained much the same as it was before the latest redistricting. Interestingly, it is shaped much like the state of Virginia itself, and comprises the triangular area forming Virginia’s borders with West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The Ninth extends from this tip north to Covington, and east to Martinsville. The district is 89.9% Caucasian, 5.4% Black, and 1.9% Hispanic.

Tenth District

The Virginia Tenth reaches from the western border of the Eighth and the West Virginia border. Its southern border runs from Manassas along State Highway 50 to the border. Formerly, the Tenth included the areas surrounding the towns of Front Royal Bull Run, and southeast of the GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area. It now includes the space contiguous to Haymarket and southwest of Burke. The Tenth is 64.9% Caucasian, 6.7% Black, and 10.5% Hispanic.

Eleventh District

The Eleventh is comprised of the southwestern outskirts of the Washington Metropolitan Area. It reaches south from Reston to the Dumfries Triangle via Burke and Dale City. The Eleventh includes a western arm along Interstate 66 to Centreville. Formerly, the district arced around Manassas to include Nokesville and Gainesville, and an eastern arm to Mt. Vernon. The Eleventh is 50.0% Caucasian, 11.4% Black, and 14.5% Hispanic.