And now the battles begin!
The US Census Bureau announced yesterday the first of is findings for 2010. In New Jersey that means; we're still #1 in population density among all states* with 8,791,894 residents stuffed into our 7,417 square miles and despite a subdued population increase, we're loosing a congressional seat.
It's apportionment, a process of dividing the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states based on the population figures collected during the decennial census. And redistricting is the process of assigning residents to congressional and legislative districts, in accordance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act and it's one-person, one-vote principle.
Redistricting has always been contentious in New Jersey, it means political manuevreing on a grand scale. While the big news is the loss a House seat, the immediate focus will be on redrawing the state's 40 legislative districts.
New Jersey is one of four states with legislative races in 2011, so it will be among the first states to receive local census details, probably by early February. And that's when the battle begins!
For the redrawing of the state legislative districts a commission of five NJ Democrats and five NJ Republicans will devise a map dividing the nearly 8.8 million people into 40 roughly equal districts. Populations will have to be within 5 percent either way of 219,797, meaning up to 10,990 above or below the average.
Legislative redistricting could mean big changes in Ocean County's representation in Trenton, because as of last year Ocean County's population estimates had increased by more than 12% over the figures from 2000. If you'd like to take a look at an interactive Census map, it's here!