Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Census 2010: Population Winners and Losers

Here's a link to a great interactive chart showing 2010 Census Results. This is published by American Public Media for their Marketplace program. You can look at trend lines for every state and territory using 100 years of historical census data.

As you can well imagine, census data are wildly popular in this political, info-techy town. There are two broad constituent groups who have been waiting with bated breath: politicians, who want to know the likelihood of keeping their job; and voters, who want to know the liklihood of having their voice be heard.

For politicians, the idea would be to reduce the variance or political diversity in the constituent group they are trying to please. If one is elected on a conservative platform, one is more likely to earn favorable performance ratings (and get re-elected) from a conservative consituency. You can never please everyone, but too much diversity in the populace means it will be harder to please anyone.

For voters, the idea would also be to reduce variance, but from a slightly different perspective. If one is interested in a particular issue, say poverty, health care, education, or the ecomony, one doesn't want his voice to be lost in the sauce. Voters have more power when they are voting as a block. Too much diversity of opinion waters down the message to the elected official.

Let the gerrymandering begin!

With a tip o' the hat to Angelo for sending the link.