The “Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010” document tracks population growth and movement across the United States. It pays particular attention to the top ten highest growing and/or populated states, and the top ten lowest growing and/or populated states. It can be correlated with economic issues, such as has happened with Detroit, and also with areas known for their business, such as Los Angeles. It tracks by state and by county, as well as fastest growing. It has maps that show changes by numeric values as well as percentage values.
The “Congressional Apportionment” document explains how the number of Representatives of each state are portioned out by state population. It briefly goes over the history of appointment, and gives a table to show how the number of Representatives has changed per state over time. It also gives the mathematical formula used to calculate how the number of Representatives changes, and then gives the change in number for states between the 2000 and 2010 census. The total number of Representatives has stayed at 435 since 1911, excluding the year 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii became states – though it reverted back to 435 during the next census in 1960 when the population data could be properly used to portion out Representatives to the new states. Over time, states may lose or gain Representatives, though some states stay the same.
There is not a relationship between the size of the state and the number of people in it: Alaska is the largest state and has a relatively small population, whereas Rhode Island is one of the smallest states and has a very large population. However, the size of the population of any given state directly affects their congressional representation in the House of Representatives. The more people you have, the more Representatives you have.
It is crucial to have representation because votes in the House are done based on majority (50% plus one vote). Not only that, but more representation means more individuals to be on committees, and more senior Representatives. More representation likely means more legislation introduced to the floor that has to do with your state and your state’s needs, as well as more pull in adding pork to bills that correspond to the needs of your state’s communities. Representatives are the voice of your state in politics.
More reps lead to greater power and benefit to the home state because of the majority method of voting. The House of Representatives is based upon representation, and so the greater the population the higher the number of reps needed to adequately represent that population (unlike the Senate, which is the same for all states). In places with diverse populations, too, the more representatives you have the more likely you will have a representative that works for the goals or needs of your own community.
I chose the “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Population: 2000 and 2010” document for this section of the homework. It details the incredible diversity within Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups, and takes pains to note how this group was one that picked numerous combinations with the main category – more than half. The use of multiple race options for this group increased 44% in the ten years between census data, and the overall group grew three times faster than the overall US population. It discussed which combinations grew fastest, where population of the group grew the most, as well as general distribution. I could not find a corresponding map in the list of links, but this document itself contained numerous maps that displayed the data in different ways, such as Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders by county, percentage vs overall population by county, and change by percent. It also included numerous tables and graphs.
I chose the “Households and Families: 2010” document. It detailed the makeup of a household, and the relationships between the householder and the other individuals living within the residence. Most of the relationships were familial in nature. However, nonrelated relationships have incrased. It made a special point of noting that same-sex unmarried partnerships “appeared inflated due to mismarking errors in the gender item on the census forms” (3), though it didn’t state how they determined mismarking to be happening. It noted where most households were (California, Florida, New York, and Texas), as well as detailing household composition. Many households were one-person households, which can be seen on one of the maps listed. Judging by the map, the highest number of one-person households seem to occur in the northeast and midwest, with the fewest seeming to occur in the west and south.
The collection of these data are such a big issue because in order for your representatives to be able to represent you, they need to know you exist and in what conditions. For the household section, for example, if you’re living with ten other people in a one bedroom because you can’t afford better housing, but neither you nor the people living with you have been counted (and others in your neighborhood due to socio-economic conditions), then this is an area in your county that is unknown to be having problems. When aid is being discussed in Congress or allocated, you will not be helped. You might as well not even exist. Similarly with a minority group, the more that it can be demonstrated by population and socio-economic conditions that the group is suffering, the higher chances that solutions will be attempted for that group.
The absolutely unfortunate thing about the census data is that it prolongs the cultural/social identity of race (particularly in enforcing negative stereotypes), yet, at the same time, there are legitimate issues due to race that need to be addressed. To that end, I favor leaving things as is (but condensing if possible) with an option for write-ins. This allows underrepresented groups to be recognized, especially if there are developing or ongoing issues at stake that have not been previously seen. This also helps to keep the majority of data as simple as possible (I think that as-is has reduced race as much as possible without doing too much overlap).
Write-ins complicate things (they can muddy up data, especially if people write in things that are similar or the same but have different names), and it’s possible that by keeping things as is and adding write-ins, that it will result in too much diversity (such as people writing in “Irish” instead of selecting “White”) without benefiting the people who need it most (ie, the hardest hit groups still get underrepresented).
But I do believe my arguments are stronger simply due to the fact that we must try to provide a way for groups who need help to identify themselves – such as Arabs trying to get their own category instead of being included with whites. By providing a write-in, if enough of them select it then they will have a chance to better argue their points about why they need their own category.