Thanks Tmess2 for the great introduction to the Pennsylvania census numbers (and all the great census work overall).
The first thing I’d like to say about the Pennsylvania census numbers is that Philadelphia gained population for the first time since 1950. The current population of 1,526,006 raises it back to fifth largest in the US, replacing Phoenix, which had surpassed Philly about 4 years ago, and now has a population of 1,445,632. (Sorry, local pride and all that….plus we’re not out to send people out of the country….)
And here is the current map of Congressional Districts:
If you look at the two maps, you can see that certain areas will win, and some will lose. So, what do we think will happen given that on the state level, Pennsylvania became a Republican state in 2010? Despite the fact that the governor and three of four legislative caucuses are all from the western part of the state, that’s the most likely point of loss for the seat that will disappear. If John Murtha were still alive, there’s no doubt that his would be the district gerrymandered out of existence. But it looks like that district, the 12th, currently held by Blue Dog Mark Critz might end up more blue.
Still, the GOP will be playing with the lines in Southeastern PA. The money is on redrawing the line between the 2nd and the 8th, currently held by Chaka Fattah and Allyson Schwartz, respectively. This would be a battle between suburban whites and Philadelphia blacks. The kind of bloodbath the Republicans would pay to see.
Another likelihood is that the 6th and 7th (Jim Gerlach and Pat Meehan (representing Joe Sestak’s old district), respectively) will expand west into Lancaster County. Except, um, for Joe Pitts. He’s the currently longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania delegation. He likes his job. He’s a “good” Republican. He’s also 71 and not spry. Still, the way population has grown more in Chester County as compared to Lancaster County, it’s hard to tell. We’ll see.
Almost everything else is in flux except CD 1, Bob Brady’s district. No one messes with Bob Brady.
In many states, there is discussion about the growth of the Hispanic population and its affects on election outcomes. This is true in places like California, where the non-Hispanic white population is pegged at 40%. But here in Pennsylvania, Hispanics are not yet a driving force. Despite their huge percentage contribution to the overall state population growth, they are still less than 6% of the population, and are not organized as a political force.