Monday, December 20, 2010

The politics of poverty

In Friday's "This Week in Redistricting" post I linked to the results of the American Community Survey (or ACS), which is where most of the demographic information that is used by the Census Bureau comes from.

They then took this information and put it into some maps.

One of the maps that I found particularly interesting is titled, percent of people below poverty level in the past 12 months. That map looks like this.

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The darker areas have higher levels of poverty than the lighter areas. You see a few really dark areas in the Dakotas, these are reservations. What stands out though are the two horizontal bands of poverty running across the country, one through West Virginia, Kentucky and into Missouri and another that runs through the heart of the deep south.

When I saw this map it immediately reminded me of another map. It's a map from after the 2008 election that shows which counties voted more Republican in that election and which counties voted more Democratic in comparison to 2004.

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There are some similarities and some differences between the two maps. The upper band of poverty appears to run through the band of red on the above map, but the lower band of poverty seems to track along blue areas of the south.

The ACS is a wealth of demographic information that I've only begun to look at.


The first round of Census data is set to be released tomorrow at about 10:30am. This will tell us, pending any litigation, weather or not we lose a congressional seat, which will determine weather the current congressional map gets blown up or tweaked slightly.

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