Hyper-Growth and Electoral Bias: Intra-Decade Population Growth, Constituencies, and Representation in the U.S. House
43 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 8 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 2010
To a remarkable degree, population growth in the United States is unevenly distributed and, at present, most evident in places where Republicans dominate the Democrats. These two effects result from an ongoing trend that persisted in the current decade: migration favors suburbs and disperses the population. Does this pattern of uneven growth directed toward areas of Republican strength actually help one party or the other? This paper considers this question, and asks whether can we theorize about how these outcomes might persist. In some respects, these patterns support the electoral interests of Republicans, but not necessarily. Electoral outcomes are conditioned upon who moves, who stays behind, and the relationship of elected officials and new migrants relative to other voters. This study, which applies aggregate data organized by U.S. Congressional district, I find no systematic tendency in this decade for migration to either consolidate or dissipate partisanship in their constituencies. Despite this null finding, I find preliminary evidence suggesting that high growth districts contribute disproportionately to polarization in the House.
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