The Rural Blog: The census may cause big changes for rural legislative districts

October 8, 2010 | General RCAP News

From an Oct. 5 posting to The Rural Blog:

When results of the census are finally tabulated, rural legislators are likely to feel the greatest change, reports David Harrison for Early census data released last week show that "the recession has not stopped a century-long movement of people out of rural areas and into cities and suburbs, a trend that will have significant impact in next year’s redistricting debates," writes Harrison. "The rural districts get geographically bigger as more and more population has to be absorbed in the urban and suburban districts," Gary Moncrief, a political scientist at Boise State University in Idaho, said to Harrison.

As the U.S. population has grown, all legislators, urban, suburban and rural, are going to represent more people, writes Harrison. That will affect everything from the cost of campaigns to legislators’ workloads and travel time. In anticipation of the changes from re-districting, some states are already making changes. In Alaska, a constitutional amendment will ask the state’s voters to increase the size of the state legislature adding two state senators and four House members.