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Voting District Geography & Demographics

In the lead-up to the 2018 and 2020 elections, Census 2020 and 2020-based redistricting, this section updates on new topics. Topics include analyzing voting districts as they relate to political and social issues, the tie-in with geography including census tracts, congressional districts and state legislative districts and developing, accessing and integrating data for analysis.

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In the 2014 elections, 92.3 million Americans reported voting. When the voting-age population is used (239.9 million people), the voting rate is 38.5 percent. When voting-age citizens is used (219.9 million people), the voting rate increases to 41.9 percent. See more about 2014 election voters. We know something about this by state, but what about the incidence of low voting rates by county, city ... or voting districts?

Voting district analysis is of interest for many reasons. Voting districts, or election precincts, are the lowest common denominator for most election areas -- from city council to the U.S. House of Representatives. Voting district (VTD) demographics and voting results are typically difficult to acquire, making analysis of voting districts a challenging task. The Census 2010 VTD data are difficult to use with 2014 election results because the VTD geography changed between 2010 and 2014. In most states voting district geography is defined on a sub-state/county basis. Boundaries are subject to frequent change. Often shapefiles for use in GIS applications are unavailable or difficult to acquire. The combination of these issues, geography in shapefile format and VTD demographics/voter results, make analysis of VTDs challenging.

This section illustrates how voting district (VTD) geography can be examined in context of other geography and how voting district demographics can be analyzed using GIS resources. These applications make use of Fairfax County, VA, part of the Washington, DC metro, but can be developed for most counties/areas across the U.S.

This section knits together with these related sections:
  • Congressional Districts
  • State Legislative Districts
  • Citizen Voting Age Population Demographics - tract & block group
  • Citizen Voting Age Population Demographics - county & state
  • CVAP & Voter Demographics - characteristics of those voting in 2014 elections
  • America's Communities
  • Voter Mobilization Resources & Methods

The Census 2010 population of Fairfax County, VA was 1,081,726 (2,767 persons per square mile). See more about this county in context of other counties and areas using this interactive table. View related demographic components of change showing births, deaths and migration since 2010.

Fairfax County Patterns of Economic Prosperity by Census Tract

... Click graphic for larger view.
... View developed using CV XE GIS. Map your own districts of interest.

Fairfax County Voting Districts
The following view uses the same Fairfax County GIS project to examine voting districts in context of neighborhood economic prosperity. This view shows median household income by census tract. Using the GIS layer editor, different types of demographic-economic subject matter (such as educational attainment, housing value, language spoken at home ...) could be used.

... Click graphic for larger view.
... View developed using CV XE GIS. Map your own districts of interest.

Voting District Drill-down Demographics
The following view uses the same Fairfax County GIS project to examine census block demographics by voting district. The graphic (ff3.gis project) shows a zoom-in view focused on the Sherwood voting district. Using the CV XE GIS site analysis tool, all census blocks are selected within the Sherwood VTD (cross-hatched). A subset of blocks could have been selected to examine just part of the VTD. The table to the right of the map shows the aggregated total population and housing units for this VTD. As of Census 2010 there were 1,380 population in this VTD. Other demographic attributes, such as population by age, gender, or race/origin could be integrated into the shapefile using data sourced from Census 2010 Summary File 1

... Click graphic for larger view.
... View developed using CV XE GIS. Map your own districts of interest.

There are 27 census blocks that comprise the Sherwood VTD. Using the View File button in the above operation, these 27 census block records can be viewed using the CV XE GIS dBrowser tool. A partial view of the records is shown below. This file can be exported for use with other software.

... Click graphic for larger view.
... View developed using CV XE GIS. Map your own districts of interest.

Voting Districts & Congressional Districts
The following view shows Fairfax County voting districts in context of Virginia Congressional District 08 (bold red boundary). Among all congressional districts only VA CD 08 is coterminous with Fairfax County. All others include parts of other counties.

... Click graphic for larger view.
... View developed using CV XE GIS. Map your own districts of interest.

Congressional Districts & Patterns of Neighborhood Economic Prosperity
The following view shows Fairfax County with Virginia Congressional District 08 (bold red boundary) overlayed on the census tract layer with patterns of median household income. See similar views of patterns of neighborhood prosperity for each/all congressional districts in the CD 114 Gallery.

... Click graphic for larger view.
... View developed using CV XE GIS. Map your own districts of interest.

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Join the ProximityOne User Group to keep up-to-date with new developments relating to metros and component geography decision-making information resources. Receive updates and access to tools and resources available only to members. Use this form to join the User Group.

Support Using these Resources
Learn more about accessing and using demographic-economic data and related analytical tools. Join us in a Data Analytics Lab session. There is no fee for these one-hour Web sessions. Each informal session is focused on a specific topic. The open structure also provides for Q&A and discussion of application issues of interest to participants.

Additional Information
ProximityOne develops geodemographic-economic data and analytical tools and helps organizations knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. We develop custom demographic/economic estimates and projections, develop geographic and geocoded address files, and assist with impact and geospatial analyses. Wide-ranging organizations use our tools (software, data, methodologies) to analyze their own data integrated with other data. Follow ProximityOne on Twitter at Contact us (888-364-7656) with questions about data covered in this section or to discuss custom estimates, projections or analyses for your areas of interest.

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