Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present racial demographic statistics for every congressional district in the 115th Congress broken down by age and citizenship status. We’ve calculated these figures by using estimates from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which is a large statistical sample of Americans conducted each year.
We have compiled the estimated proportion of each district's residents who are white, black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, or Native American. You can view these categories broken down four ways, using estimates of four different population types for each district: the total population of all residents; the voting-age (i.e., adult) population; the total citizen population; and finally the citizen voting age population. The predominant racial group for each population type is shaded, with majorities darker and pluralities lighter.
Most importantly, these statistics can give you a good idea of just how different the demographics are between the population at large and the pool of eligible voters for every district. Nationwide, citizens of voting age are 70 percent white and just 11 percent Latino, while the country’s total population is only 62 percent white and 17 percent Latino.
And in a district like California’s 21st, which is based in the state’s agriculture-heavy Central Valley and thus is home to a large migrant population, the difference is even starker: Among all residents, the seat is 74 percent Latino and only 17 percent white, but the citizen voting age population is 59 percent Latino and 29 percent white. That disparity partly explains why a Republican, Rep. David Valadao, has represented the area since 2013.
For districts with large populations of immigrants and children, these numbers can also give you an idea of where a district's demographics are headed over the years as these groups naturalize and reach voting age, respectively.
Note that, while the citizen voting age population is the closest estimate we have of the eligible-voter population, the two statistics aren’t necessarily identical. The reason is because most states disenfranchise those serving time for felony convictions, and a few even ban such people from voting for life, even after they’ve completed their sentences. Therefore, some citizens who are of voting age are nonetheless ineligible to vote due to their felony status.
However, the Census Bureau doesn’t calculate data on felony disenfranchisement broken down by race and citizenship status for each district. As a result, the proportion of eligible voters for each racial group may differ somewhat from the corresponding proportion of citizen vote-age population for each group, likely in a way that would tend to increase the white share of the electorate. That’s because felony disenfranchisement laws were designed during Jim Crow to disenfranchise African Americans, and to this day, they have a disproportionate impact on people of color.
You can also find these same stats, along with election results, member biographical information, and much more in our complete guide to the 115th Congress.
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