North Carolina’s new demographic face

From an editorial Wednesday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

Demographic studies reported by The Charlotte Observer show a couple of interesting trends in North Carolina. One, urban areas are growing faster than rural ones. Two, minority populations are growing more rapidly than whites.

This could cause some measure of havoc in the congressional and legislative districts that Republicans drew in North Carolina and elsewhere after the 2010 census. Those districts, many bordering on blatant gerrymandering to the point courts are reviewing them, were designed to favor Republican candidates.

Now there are increasing numbers of Hispanic voters in all sorts of districts, rural and urban. That kind of development can render the districts designed to keep Republicans in power unpredictable. This is especially true for a party with little minority support. They may be in for some surprises come Election Day.

Some observers of the changing face of North Carolina’s population are suggesting it’s time to push again for an independent redistricting commission. The permanent group, appointed and bipartisan, would draw districts every 10 years as the population shifts and changes. In states that use such a commission, neither party is entirely pleased or entirely displeased. But both tend to acknowledge that the resulting districts, more compact and balanced, are better for all concerned.