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Weston, Connecticut, Census Block Numbers 2000 - as local as you can get...

WESTON, CONNECTICUT POPULATION CHANGE:  Quick links to information...and the 2010 Census data as it gets released!
Connecticut,
New England and the...
Census Bureau in Washington, D.C.




Connecticut State Data Center at UCONN




U.S. Census/New England City and Town Areas 2006




Link to the U.S. CENSUS BUREAU



WESTON, CT CENSUS GEOGRAPHY: 
U.S. CENSUS 2000 BLOCK GROUP MAP


AT THE VERY TOP OF THIS PAGE is a U.S. Census 2000 map of the census tracts and block groups in Weston, CT.  In yellow is the census block group for an address in the northern part of Town.  NOTE: there are two census tracts in Weston (551 and 552).  In each tract there are three census block groups.  More detail is available for smaller units--blocks--not shown here, but in Weston, census geography gets complicated, as lines are draw from tree to tree (a slight exageration)...below is a sample table, courtesy of the South Western Regional Planning Agency's data guy, no longer working at SWRPA.

Sample Population Density Query
SUMLEV
NAME
AREALAND
Area (sq mi)
Population
Population Density
060
Weston town
51278488
19.7987357470382
10037
506.95156136429
070
Georgetown CDP (part)
420758
0.162455578944767
144
886.396151707157
080
Census Tract 551 (part)
420758
0.162455578944767
144
886.396151707157
085
Urban
420758
0.162455578944767
144
886.396151707157
090
Block Group 1 (part)
420758
0.162455578944767
144
886.396151707157
070
Remainder of Weston town
50857730
19.6362801680934
9893
503.812326739711
080
Census Tract 551 (part)
34180165
13.1970360480435
5528
418.881935297855
085
Rural
16543324
6.38741337797704
1182
185.051433194441
090
Block Group 1 (part)
16543324
6.38741337797704
1182
185.051433194441
085
Urban
17636841
6.80962267006642
4346
638.214510637137
090
Block Group 1 (part)
10232179
3.9506665667949
2478
627.235925407482
090
Block Group 2
4473417
1.7271960333407
1199
694.188717930835
090
Block Group 3
2931245
1.13176006993083
669
591.114687445096
080
Census Tract 552
16677565
6.43924412004998
4365
677.874595002328
085
Rural
59212
2.28618819855536E-02
0
0
090
Block Group 1 (part)
59212
2.28618819855536E-02
0
0
085
Urban
16618353
6.41638223806442
4365
680.28989515387
090
Block Group 1 (part)
5562466
2.14768022091222
1360
633.241386104652
090
Block Group 2
3330853
1.28604958787454
989
769.021668623623
090
Block Group 3
7725034
2.98265242927766
2016
675.908456584139
140
Census Tract 551
34600923
13.3594916269882
5672
424.567053774837
150
Block Group 1
27196261
10.5005355237167
3804
362.267237838319
150
Block Group 2
4473417
1.7271960333407
1199
694.188717930835
150
Block Group 3
2931245
1.13176006993083
669
591.114687445096
140
Census Tract 552
16677565
6.43924412004998
4365
677.874595002328
150
Block Group 1
5621678
2.17054210289777
1360
626.571582363842
150
Block Group 2
3330853
1.28604958787454
989
769.021668623623
150
Block Group 3
7725034
2.98265242927766
2016
675.908456584139
158
Census Tract 551 (part)
420758
0.162455578944767
144
886.396151707157
393
Weston town
51278488
19.7987357470382
10037
506.95156136429
397
Weston town
51278488
19.7987357470382
10037
506.95156136429
441
Weston town (part)
34675952
13.3884604870756
8855
661.390456994519
451
Georgetown CDP (part)
420758
0.162455578944767
144
886.396151707157
451
Remainder of Weston town (part)
34255194
13.2260049081308
8711
658.626702508239
511
Census Tract 551
34600923
13.3594916269882
5672
424.567053774837
511
Census Tract 552
16677565
6.43924412004998
4365
677.874595002328
521
Weston town
51278488
19.7987357470382
10037
506.95156136429



Fixing the Census
NYTIMES
By Alan B. Krueger (Alan B. Krueger is an economics professor at Princeton).
January 26, 2009, 6:31 am

Serious problems in the planning for the 2010 census have been in the news lately. The census has fallen well behind schedule because of technology glitches, and as a result the Government Accountability Office has listed the population count as one of the 13 urgent issues requiring immediate attention in the first year of the new presidential administration, up there with homeland security and Iraq. Without urgent action to prepare and test survey procedures, the 2010 census will miss more people than the 2000 census...full story here.



Data Show Steady Drop in Americans on Move
NYTIMES
By SAM ROBERTS
December 21, 2008

Despite the nation’s reputation as a rootless society, only about one in 10 Americans moved in the last year — roughly half the proportion that changed residences as recently as four decades ago, census data show.

The monthly Current Population Survey found that fewer than 12 percent of Americans moved since 2007, a decline of nearly a full percentage point compared with the year before. In the 1950s and ’60s, the number of movers hovered near 20 percent.  The number has been declining steadily, and 12 percent is the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began counting people who move in 1940.  An analysis by the Pew Research Center attributes the decline to a number of factors, including the aging of the population (older people are less likely to change residences) and an increase in two-career couples.

The Pew analysis is drawn from census data and a survey, which found that 63 percent of Americans said they had moved to another community at least once in their lives, while 37 percent said they lived in the community where they were born.

According to the census’s American Community Survey, New York retained first place in the proportion of residents who were born in the state — more than 81 percent — with upstaters generally less mobile.  The top five also included Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, generally Rust Belt states with older populations.

In contrast, fewer than 14 percent of Nevadans and 28 percent of Arizonans were born in those states.

Measuring the percentage of people born in a state who still live there, Texas ranked first, with nearly 76 percent, followed by North Carolina, Georgia, California and Wisconsin.  Alaska recorded the smallest share of people born in the state and still living there, 28 percent, followed by Wyoming, the Dakotas and Montana.

The telephone survey of 2,260 adults in October found that 57 percent had never moved outside their home state, while 15 percent had lived in four or more states.

About 23 percent say their current home is not where their heart is — typically because they were born someplace else, where they lived longer or their family still resides. About half who identify home as someplace else want to stay put; 40 percent say they would like to return.  Most people who do not move are kept close to home by family ties, the survey found, while most who do move are drawn by better jobs.  The Pew survey found that among all foreign-born adults, including recent arrivals, 38 percent describe home as their country of birth.

Among those who have lived in the United States 20 years or more, 76 percent describe America as home.



Population loss is threat to our state

Stamford ADVOCATE
Staff Reports
Article Launched: 07/12/2008 02:39:30 AM EDT

Get ready for some competitive congressional races in Connecticut soon after the 2020 Census. That's the time officials say the state is likely to lose one of its five remaining U.S. House seats - we originally had six - and with it one of its seven electoral votes.

The state showed growth over the past year that could charitably be called "anemic." The population rose 0.19 percent in the past year, the equivalent of adding about 6,500 people. In a state of almost 3.5 million, that's almost like going backward.

A multigenerational trend is emptying out the Northeast and filling up the West, specifically places like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Those states stand to pick up the congressional seats, and the national clout, that Connecticut and its neighbors appear on track to lose.

None of this is a surprise. However, it was only recently that Connecticut had six seats in the House, losing one after the 2000 Census. To drop another one so soon would no doubt increase pessimism about our state's economic viability.

Officials like Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the mayors of Stamford and Norwalk challenged the idea that Connecticut is in a downward spiral, saying the state and its cities are either holding their own or poised for a comeback. Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy said an increase in housing stock has his city on a path for population growth. Mayor Richard Moccia, meanwhile, said the same of Norwalk's redevelopment plans.

But the nationwide mortgage crisis has put a serious crimp in the state's housing market.

The reasons for the statewide lack of growth are legion, but not easy to change. Connecticut is expensive, for people and businesses. There's little to keep young people here. The weather is nice for a few months, but why settle for that when you can get year-round sun? If we're not careful, the Land of Steady Habits will become the Land of Rich and Old People. Most of the places in Connecticut where people would like to live - i.e., in close proximity New York City - are far out of reach for most people wishing to buy a home, or even obtain an affordable rental unit. In much of our region, the housing slump has not caused a significant reduction in average home prices.

The warning signs for Connecticut are there. No one will be able to say we didn't see it coming. But time is running short to take effective action to halt if not reverse these trends. Job retention and creation must be a major focus involving cooperative efforts by state and local officials. That should include a rigorous review of state taxing policies, as well as the state spending that drives them. Affordable housing, a topic that produces a lot of talk but little progress, needs to be confronted too.

Connecticut ignores these concerns at its economic and political peril.


Estimate from State Data Center at UCONN...
Growth stalls in the state
Stamford ADVOCATE
By Kate King, Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 07/11/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT


Fairfield County saw a small increase in population despite a drop statewide, according to census figures released yesterday.

Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Westport all saw minor increases, according to the data. Norwalk posted a decline of 0.1 percent.  But the statewide picture isn't promising, experts say, pointing to a shrinking work force, loss of jobs, an aging population and a potential reduction in state representation in Washington, D.C.

"This population growth is consistent with our slow growth in the recent past," said Lisa Mercurio, director of the Business Council of Fairfield County. "New England as a whole has been growing more slowly than the rest of the U.S."

The population in Connecticut rose 0.19 percent over the last year, according to the census data.  Connecticut's population growth is the eighth lowest in the nation, according the report. Nevada had the highest growth rate since 2006 at 2.9 percent, and Rhode Island had the lowest at minus 0.36 percent.

Within Connecticut, Milford's population grew the most, by 532 people. Bridgeport showed the biggest population decline, losing 252 people over the past year.

Though 35 percent of the state's 169 towns declined in population, Fairfield County's population grew 0.1 percent. Stamford and Darien's population grew by 0.1 percent, and Greenwich and Westport grew by 0.4 percent. New Canaan's population increased by 0.5 percent.

Local leaders remained optimistic.  Despite the city's losses, Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia said the city's redevelopment plans put Norwalk on a course toward growth.

"From a statistical point of view, in my mind it's virtually no loss whatsoever, so I'm not worried," he said. "I don't see this as a threat to our economic viability. I think with our new development projects in place, with more affordable housing going in down the road, you might see an increase in population."

Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy painted an equally bright picture, estimating a 10-year growth rate of 6 percent for the city, coming from an increase in housing stock.  Malloy also suspected that the census counts miss some of the city's population.

"As much as I think these reports are interesting. . . . I respectfully would argue that it probably undercounts our immigrant population," Malloy said.

The slow statewide growth comes on the heels of a population boom, which lasted from 1995 to 2003, said Orlando Rodriguez, demographer and manager of the Connecticut State Data Center.  The population growth during those eight years was abnormal, a reaction to the end of a deep economic recession that took place in Connecticut from 1990 to 1995.

The population growth rate that Connecticut has experienced since 2004 is "more normal, looking forward, than what happened between 1995 and 2003," Rodriguez said.  But the return to normal of Connecticut's population growth rate isn't necessarily a good thing for the state.

"One of the things that's concerning us is that we're seeing a decline in population in urban areas, which is counter to what we had expected," he said.

A declining urban population means a smaller work force to replace the growing elderly population in the state, Rodriguez said.  Connecticut has one of the nation's oldest populations, meaning a high number of senior citizens.

Before the 2007 census, demographers had projected a job loss of 60,000 workers by the year 2030, he said. However, if urban areas continue to lose population, that worker loss will be even greater.  Also contributing to the slow growth rate in Connecticut is a net loss of population to other states.

"We send more people to other states than we get from other states," Rodriguez said. "You've got a lot of elderly people, not a lot of children being born, and folks leaving - it's lucky Connecticut has any population growth at all."

The only reason Connecticut has not dipped into negative population growth is the 15,000 foreign immigrants who have been coming to the state yearly since 2004.  In addition to contributing to a decline in the work force, slow population growth could cut Connecticut's representation in Congress.

"By 2020 we will lose a congressional seat," Rodriguez said. "For 2010, we'll probably be OK unless the bottom really falls out and Connecticut goes into major population loss."

Although Connecticut will most likely remain a five-district state for the next 12 years, uneven population growth within the districts will probably force a redrawing of the districts before then, he said.


2010 Census: Who Should Count?
By MICHAEL REGAN | Courant Staff Writer
September 30, 2007

Border states in America's South and West are battlegrounds in the debate over illegal immigration, but when it's time to pass out seats in Congress, they are beneficiaries as well, a new study says.

Because of their large populations of undocumented residents, Texas and Arizona will each get one extra seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2010 Census, the Connecticut State Data Center projects in a report being released today. California will keep two seats it otherwise would have lost.

Overall, the South and West each stand to gain five seats in the House, the center at the University of Connecticut says. If it weren't for their populations of illegal immigrants, each of these regions would gain only three.

The big loser in the reapportionment will be the Midwest, the center says. Five states in that region are projected to lose a total of six seats, four more than they would have if illegal immigrants were not included in the census tally.

Connecticut, which lost a seat in the last reapportionment, should keep the five it now has, but the Northeast as a whole will lose four - two in New York and one each in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

There's more than congressional clout at stake in the reapportionment: It also helps determine the makeup of the Electoral College. And the census itself influences everything from federal aid to the makeup of state legislatures. So as the 2010 Census approaches, attention is turning to the issue of whether it's fair to continue counting illegal immigrants.

Orlando J. Rodriguez, manager of the Connecticut State Data Center and author of the new report, considered that issue when designing the study. He figured the reapportionment two ways - one in which all residents are counted, as is currently done, and one in which illegal immigrants are factored out. Although politics watchers have been handicapping the 2010 reapportionment almost since 2000 was completed, Rodriguez said this is the first study he knows of to factor in the immigration question.

In part, the shift expected in 2010 is the result of a long-term population trend that has states in the South and West growing far faster than states in the Northeast and Midwest. In the 1960s, the Northeast and Midwest had 233 seats in the House, the South and West 202. The numbers roughly reversed two decades later, and now stand at 183 to 252. The new CSDC report projects that the South and West will have 262 seats to 173 for the Northeast and Midwest after 2010.

The winners and losers don't fall strictly along regional lines. New Jersey, for example, with the highest proportion of undocumented workers in the Northeast, would lose one seat if illegal residents were not counted, according to the CSDC projection. Montana would gain a seat if they weren't counted. Louisiana, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is expected to lose a seat regardless.

The new report suggests that the country's illegal immigrant population is playing an increasing role in congressional apportionment. After the 2000 Census, an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies found that illegal immigrant populations affected the apportionment of four seats. The CSDC report projects that six seats will be affected by undocumented residents after 2010.

The projections are based on the most reliable data available, Rodriguez said, but studying the undocumented residents population is imprecise at best.

"Nobody really knows for sure," he said. "The bottom line is not `Is this specifically going to happen?' What I was trying to get across is, `Look at the impact [illegal immigration] is having.'"

Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the impact is cause for concern. "You can make a strong case that there is a fundamental unfairness about this," Camarota said. "You do raise competing questions of fairness, justice, one man-one vote."

Counting illegal immigrants gives some voters disproportionate political clout. For example, Montana, which missed out on an additional seat after 2000 because of the weight of illegal immigrants elsewhere and is projected to fall short again after 2010, had almost 650,000 registered voters last November and one representative in Congress.

By contrast, California, which would lose two of its 53 seats after 2010 if illegal immigrants weren't counted, according to the projections, has four districts each with fewer than 200,000 voters registered. One district has fewer than 170,000 voters.

"You can win election [to Congress] in California with less than 50,000 votes," Camarota said.

But that's beside the point, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The size of the electorate has nothing to do with representation in Congress.

Members of Congress "are elected to represent constituents. They don't just represent citizens," Vargas said. "They don't just represent the people who vote for them. They represent everybody in that congressional district."

Vargas said the framers of the Constitution drew distinctions among various classes of residents at various points. When it came to apportioning seats in Congress, he said, everyone was counted - although slaves were only counted as three-fifths of a person. "Would we go back to a time when we considered a person here to be less than human, less than a whole person?" he said.

At a time when illegal immigration in general is under heightened scrutiny, its connection to the census and reapportionment is likely to get renewed attention. One question that has already come up is how immigration enforcement might affect the count.

In 2000, the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service suspended raids before and after the census so as not to deter undocumented residents from responding. Earlier this year, when a census official raised the possibility of a similar freeze in 2010, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement firmly ruled out the possibility.

Camarota and Vargas agreed that the question of what ICE does in 2010 depends on who is elected president in 2008.

"Under the unlikely circumstance that the Republicans win and they institute a comprehensive enforcement strategy, who knows?" Camarota said. "It could reduce the number of illegals significantly, and it could reduce the response rate."

But Vargas said the Constitution charges the government with counting everyone in the census.

"So the federal government needs to have some common sense about what its other agencies are doing that is going to compromise its constitutional duty to enumerate all persons," he said.

The other question is whether there will be renewed efforts to keep undocumented residents - or all noncitizens - out of the reapportionment count. Anti-illegal immigrant groups and states losing representation have been unsuccessful in court over the issue in the past, and Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, which lost one seat after 2000 and is projected to lose another after 2010, has proposed a constitutional amendment to limit the reapportionment count to citizens.

Margo J. Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of several books and papers on the census and reapportionment, said it's hardly a new question.

"It's an old issue. It goes back to 1790," she said. "Every time there is in some sense a political crisis in the country or a sectional dispute, the communities that think they're not going to gain from it take a hard look at it and wonder whether the rules are fair."



Census: Shifting Growth Patterns  Immigration A Powerful Force

By MICHAEL REGAN, Courant Staff Writer
March 22, 2007

If the immigration controversy can be said to have an epicenter in Connecticut it would be Fairfield County, where anti-immigrant forces have made issues of Ecuadorean basketball games in Danbury, worker pickup zones in Stamford and Latino employment at fast-food restaurants all over.

But new census data suggest that without immigration, the county would have had sharp population declines in this decade as tens of thousands of residents left for other parts of the country.

New estimates of population released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week say that Fairfield County lost almost 53,000 more residents to other areas in Connecticut and other states than moved in from those places between the 2000 Census and July 1, 2006. That loss was more than double the combined net out-migration from the state's next two largest counties, Hartford and New Haven.

But an influx of nearly 44,000 newcomers from Puerto Rico and foreign countries helped the county eke out a scant 2 percent growth rate in that time, lagging behind every other county except New London.

"One of the other things that's not well-known or appreciated in Connecticut is the absolutely essential need for immigration into the state," said Peter Gioia, vice president and economist at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. "Certainly you prefer more highly skilled and trained people. But there's also a tremendous need for support staff of all types. You can't drive down any street in Fairfield County and not see `Help Wanted' signs all over the place."

One thing the census estimates don't make clear is where the new residents are coming from. The bureau lumps arrivals from Puerto Rico and foreign countries together under the heading "international migration," although Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens from birth.

Other demographic data, however, show that the Hispanic population of Fairfield County, as in the rest of the state, has grown far more quickly than the population as a whole. By July 1, 2005, the county had become the most heavily Hispanic in the state, with about 128,500 residents, more than 14 percent, identified as Latino by the census.

According to the Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey, a large-scale sampling of households distinct from the census population estimates, that Latino population also was more diverse than elsewhere in Connecticut.

Substantial majorities of Latinos in Hartford and New Haven counties - about 70 percent and 61 percent, respectively - are of Puerto Rican heritage, according to the survey.

In Fairfield County, the proportion of Puerto Ricans in the Hispanic population is about 37 percent, with large communities of Ecuadorian, Colombian, Guatemalan and other South and Central American immigrants. They help give the county the highest proportion of foreign-born residents in the state, about 18.5 percent, according to the survey.

The Rev. Richard Ryscavage, a sociology professor and head of the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield University, said that he sees several reasons for the relative diversity of the Latino population.

"Part of the difference has to do with the socioeconomic situation in Fairfield County, which attracts a stronger diversity because there's more diversity of employment opportunity," he said.

"Proximity to New York City is another factor," he added, with some immigrants who first came to the city "resettling" in Fairfield County and staying there to keep in touch with relatives.

The census also doesn't try to break out illegal immigrants, the particular targets of anti-immigrant activists. It's difficult to find reliable figures on the subject; the Pew Hispanic Center last year estimated that 70,000 to 100,000 unauthorized immigrants live in the state.

The broad category of international migration also buoyed the population of the state as a whole between 2000 and 2006, especially Hartford and New Haven counties. Both counties gained several thousand more residents from international migration than they lost through what the census calls "internal migration" to the rest of the nation.

But nowhere else in the state has the population been so shaped by movements in and out of the county. The 53,000-person loss to internal migration tallied by the Census Bureau represents almost 6 percent of Fairfield County's population in 2000; the 44,000 gain from international migration is nearly 5 percent.

Edward J. Deak, economics professor at Fairfield University, said that both numbers seemed high, especially the internal migration number. "You wouldn't have seen the vigor in the housing market for the period '02 to '05 if there had been that kind of loss," Deak said.

The immigrants to the county would have to have high incomes to sustain the housing market, he said, "and I just don't see that many people working as bioresearch scientists, engineers, financial service people, hedge fund employees, banking employees or something of that type."

Gioia, however, said that the figures are not surprising. Internal migration - people leaving for destinations in the United States - in part reflects the mobility of employees in large corporations and in part the aging of an affluent population that chooses to retire elsewhere.

The international migration, he said, is a product of the particular geographic and economic situation of Fairfield County.

"It's the most diverse county ethnically, racially and otherwise in the state," he said. "The proximity to New York City makes it a heck of a lot easier for international migration, and there's an awful lot of opportunity within the county."


Connecticut Population Is Declining - 17,000 loss recorded in the last two years  
DAY
By Associated Press   
Published on 2/5/2007
   
Hartford (AP) — Connecticut is once again losing residents to other states, ending a brief period of more robust population growth.

The state lost almost 17,000 more people than moved in between 2005 and 2006, according to the latest Census estimate. An influx of about 14,300 residents from Puerto Rico and foreign countries helped keep Connecticut from a net loss in population, as happened in the early 1990s.

The Census Bureau estimates that Connecticut's population of 3.5 million grew by 4,108 in the year that ended last June 30. State officials, who say the federal estimate understates the birthrate, pegged the increase at more than 9,000.

The two numbers represent a continuing decline from annual growth estimates in the mid-20,000 range from 2000 to 2003.

“The 2006 number was a confirmation of a significant trend,” said economist Ron Van Winkle of West Hartford. “We may not see significant growth in jobs or population in the state of Connecticut for the foreseeable future.”

The Census estimate does not track the source or destination of people coming and going, but data compiled by the Internal Revenue Service indicate that the largest share — about 40 percent — of those who leave Connecticut head for the South. The next most common destination is elsewhere in the Northeast, followed by the West and Midwest.

Two age groups appear to be most severely affected by the declining population growth: those who are in their late 20s and 30s and those who are in their late 60s and 70s. Both groups dropped in number during between 2000-2005.

Fairfield University economics professor Edward Deak said that for workers in their prime earnings years, 35 to 55 or 60, Connecticut's high cost of living is offset by the availability of well-paying jobs, particularly in the financial and scientific areas.

“At the other two ends, as people retire they tend to leave the state, and as young people graduate from college they find more attractive opportunities for entry-level positions elsewhere,” he said.

The decline in the younger group also is due in part to what Van Winkle called “a demographic wave” resulting from a drop in the birthrate nationwide through the 1970s. It produced similar reductions in the number of 20-somethings during the first half of the 1990s and in teens a decade before that.

That demographic trend was more pronounced in Connecticut than in the rest of the United States, Van Winkle said.

Economist Stephen Coelen, co-author of a report released last year examining New England's work force in 2020, says the total working-age population will probably decline in coming years in Connecticut and most of the rest of New England. In addition, fewer young people entering the work force will have four-year college degrees, he said.

“The situation for Connecticut and the whole Northeast is fairly dire,” Coelen said.  

Census: More Of Us Than Ever:  State Population Continues Growth, Exceeds 3.5 Million
December 22, 2004
By MIKE SWIFT, Courant Staff Writer

Connecticut's population topped 3.5 million people for the first time in 2004, with the state adding nearly as many people during the past four years as it added during the entire 1990s, the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting today.

Relative to the previous three years, Connecticut's growth slowed this past year, but the state still added more people than any of its New England neighbors and more even than much larger New York state, according to the new population estimates.

The nearly 100,000 people that the Census Bureau estimates that Connecticut added between 2000 and 2004 is only 18,000 below the state's population growth between 1990 and 2000, when Connecticut was one of the nation's slowest growing states.

During the first three years of the decade, between July 2000 and July 2003, the state added more than 20,000 people each year. The Census Bureau said that growth moderated during the past year, as Connecticut added roughly 16,600 people, a 0.5 percent gain, between July 2003 and July 2004.

That population growth compared to 14,600 people in New York and 4,500 in Rhode Island. Massachusetts lost about 4,000 people, making it the only state to suffer a population decline last year, according to the estimates.

"Connecticut doesn't look like the rest of New England," said Orlando Rodriguez, a demographic researcher at the Center for Population Research at the University of Connecticut. "It's not. It's more like New Jersey."

Connecticut's gains, however, were a fraction of those in the fastest growing states; Nevada added about 92,000 people in the past year, growing by 4.1 percent, the fastest percentage growth in the nation.

Connecticut's population gains are being driven by the strong growth among Latinos and Asians, who together are accounting for much of the state's growth, census estimates released earlier this year show. Their gains are likely a combination of people migrating to Connecticut from abroad and from other states, particularly the New York City area, as well as births in Connecticut, experts say.

"Connecticut seems to be geographically a good place [for Asians] because it is close to New York," said Angela Rola, director of the Asian-American Cultural Center at UConn.

Aspects of that growth include the migration of ethnic Chinese to southeastern Connecticut casino jobs; Asian Indians drawn to Hartford County by medical and high-tech jobs, and Filipinos being attracted by health care jobs and the military, Rola said.

Less clear within the state's new population total was the meaning - and perhaps the accuracy - of the new federal estimates.

In general, a growing population is good news for a state's economy, reflecting the perception that there is economic opportunity in the places attracting people, and fueling economic growth. But the census estimates, which show solid population growth during the same years that the state is down 54,000 jobs, also raise a thorny question:

"We can't have a declining labor force and a growing population. Generally, those two wouldn't go together," said Ron Van Winkle, a West Hartford economist.

Van Winkle said that during the 1990s, the Census Bureau's population estimates - a statistical model based on births, deaths and migration data - turned out to be lower than the actual population the agency counted in the 2000 Census. Most economic data, he said, suggest the bureau's estimates could be off the mark again, this time in the opposite direction.

"Most of the things you look at suggest a population that is more stable, with small growth in it, rather than one that would suggest robust growth," Van Winkle said.

With the oldest of the Baby Boomers approaching retirement, whatever population growth Connecticut is enjoying now may not last, said Edward J. Deak, an economics professor at Fairfield University.

"I just don't see a lot of reason for Connecticut even to be in the middle of the pack [among states] in terms of population growth," Deak said.

By percentage, New Hampshire remained the fastest growing New England state, adding about 11,000 people last year, a 0.8 percent jump - many of them apparently former Massachusetts residents, experts said.

Migration to neighboring New Hampshire and Rhode Island is one cause of the population loss in Massachusetts, said Steve Coelen, the former director of the Massachusetts Institute for Social & Economic Research.

Officials in northeastern Connecticut also say they have noted an influx of people from Greater Boston seeking lower housing prices south of the border.

That migration, along with a slow economy and the tightening of visa restrictions after 9/11 that may make it tougher for foreign students to enroll in Massachusetts universities, are all driving the Bay State's population drop, Coelen said.

"It's not a surprise," Coelen said of the census estimates.

Rodriguez, the UConn population researcher, said Connecticut is more like New Jersey than other New England states because it has cities such as Hartford with intense poverty, and because of the more diverse ethnic and immigrant mix of two more-urbanized states.

One worrisome fact the Center for Population Research uncovered in its analysis of the 2000 Census was that much of Connecticut's population growth was coming in poorer "urban periphery" towns such as Manchester and East Hartford.

If that growth among poor people has continued in the current decade, it's not good news, Rodriguez said.

"People may say that [population growth] means we're growing economically," he said. "Not necessarily. It could be a bad indicator."




Orlando Rodriquez final report on line (see below)

Statistics Suggest Problems In Future For Connecticut; Glimpse of state's population in 2030 shows aging, segregation 
DAY
By Karin Crompton   
Published on 5/16/2007
 
For the next 25 years, Connecticut's population will keep getting older and more segregated, a state data center concludes in projections released today.

The state will have fewer working-age people to support the glut of baby boomers who will retire, and the state's minorities will continue to be concentrated in a handful of urban areas while the rest of Connecticut remains predominantly white.

Also, if not for an influx of foreign-born immigrants — other than Hispanics — the state's population would shrink rather than grow. The state's population growth, the center reports, is ranked among the lowest in the country and puts the state at risk of losing seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The baby boomers didn't have enough kids to support them in retirement, is what it boils down to,” said Orlando Rodriguez, manager of the Connecticut State Data Center, which released the projections today. “We need to make up the shortfall somewhere.”

The Connecticut State Data Center, created in 2006, serves as a liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state uses the data to create public policy and to decide where to spend money.

Rodriguez, who said the information should ideally be published every three to five years, said the information was previously collected by the state Office of Policy and Management, which outsourced the job to the Center. The population projections haven't been updated in 12 years.

The Center uses a figure called a “dependency ratio” that takes 100 workers and calculates how many people are dependent upon them. There is a ratio for children and one for the elderly (those over 65).

The combination of the two is called a “total dependency” ratio. In Connecticut, that number is projected to rise from 67 people dependent upon every 100 workers in 2005 to 96 for every 100 in 2030.

Rodriguez looked up some figures for southeastern Connecticut.

“Whoa!” he yelped over the phone, clicking on the town of Lyme. Its total dependency ratio is projected to reach 110 by 2030 — every 100 working people in Lyme will have to support 110 retirees.

But these are statistics, after all.

“This is a wealthy retirement community, so that may not mean anything,” he said.

Overall, the state is projected to gain just three new residents for every 1,000 existing residents annually until 2030. Locally, the numbers foretell much the same. New London County's total population is projected to grow at a rate of 0.02 percent by 2030, down from 0.20 percent in 2005.

Some of the more startling projections include:

• Sprague's median age, which was 43.2 in 2005, will climb to 65.9 in 2030

• Waterford's population drops from 18,303 in 2005 to 16,758 in 2030.

• East Lyme, considered a hub for 55-and-older housing, is projected to see a decrease in the population's median age, from 43 in 2005 to 40.7 in 2030.

Rodriguez is quick to point out that the projections are different from predictions.

“We look at the past and we do not take into account anything that will happen in the future,” he said. “It's not an economic forecast — if the (sub) base closes, they put in an Ikea, build 100 houses ... It's not like that.”

Rodriguez said the data represents “one scenario. This may happen, not that it will happen.”

•••••

The Center groups the state's 169 municipalities into five categories: rural, suburban, urban core, urban periphery and wealthy. The definitions for each category come from a combination of population density (people per square mile), median family income and the percentage of the population that falls under the poverty threshold.

Rodriguez concedes that the classifications are dated and need updating. He said they were done three or four years ago and are based on information from the 2000 Census.

That could explain why East Lyme is grouped in the rural category while Salem falls into suburban. Rodriguez looked up the figures and said East Lyme's population density is too low to be categorized as suburban and its income is too high for the rural classification.

“You could say it's in transition,” he said.

New London is the only southeastern Connecticut city classified as an urban center. Norwich and Groton are both considered urban periphery. Extremely high population density is the primary characteristic for the category, according to the Center.

While race was not used to determine categories, the Center concludes that the state's minorities are most concentrated in the urban centers, or “urban core” towns.

While the urban core classification accounted for 19 percent of the state's population in 2000, the Center reports, more than half of the state's blacks and Hispanics lived there. At the same time, more than half of the state's white population lived in towns that were at least 90 percent white.

Statewide in 2000, 78 percent of towns were at least 90 percent white.

“I think one of the leading misconceptions is that Connecticut is a racially diverse state,” said Rodriguez, who moved here from New Orleans in 2002. “People say a quarter of the population is minorities and it's the same nationwide. That may be true, but that quarter is limited to seven towns in the state. So our minorities are segregated.”

The population projections can be seen at ctsdc.uconn.edu/Projections-Towns/townList-css.html.

The town listings by category can be seen at  http://www.ctsdc.uconn.edu/Projections-Towns/groups_5CTs.html



POPULATION PROJECTION  IN CT:  What are the assumptions behind these numbers?  See below!
UCONN RESEARCH FOR CT:  http://www.ctsdc.uconn.edu/Projections-Towns/groups_5CTs.html
The calculations and assumptions that form the basis for these population projections are drawn from historical patterns of population change.  Thus, these projections reveal how populations may evolve over the next twenty-five years - if these historical patterns continue to hold true.  However, there is no guarantee that the projected trends will occur.  A host of external influences, such as public policy initiatives at the state and federal levels or significant shifts in economic structure, may lead to new patterns of change in the population. 



Fairfield County population dwindling
ROB VARNON rvarnon@ctpost.com
Article Last Updated: 08/09/2007 09:47:28 PM EDT

More than 10,000 people moved out of Fairfield County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which said Connecticut's largest county lost population between 2005 and 2006.

For several years now, Fairfield County has relied on international migration to overcome what would be a loss of population as people moved out. But in 2006, 10,621 people left the county and only 6,584 immigrants from abroad moved in. The bureau tracks both domestic migration, which covers U.S. citizens, and international migration, which covers people of other nationalities.

"We would be concerned with a continuing loss," said Lisa Mercurio, director of the Fairfield County Information Exchange. The exchange is part of the Business Council of Fairfield County and it tracks demographic and other trends that could affect the region.

The trend could exacerbate the problems businesses face in trying to find employees.

Mercurio said the latest numbers, released Thursday, are a change from previous years but it's only one year of data.

"In 2000 we were looking at a loss of 1,200," she said of domestic migration, but about 2,000 immigrants settled in the county that year. Now, to have more than 10,000 leave raises a number of questions, she said, but added the census doesn't go into what's driving the changes.

"I would want to see a lot more of what's behind those numbers," she said, before making any conclusions. However, Mercurio said policy makers and business owners are aware of the need for more affordable housing and transportation.

She also pointed out Fairfield County was not alone in its decline between 2005 and 2006. The state's population also slipped during the period, as did New Haven County's.

Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist with New Haven-based DataCorps Partners, said it shouldn't come as a surprise.

"Fairfield County is starting to lose its luster," he said. Despite having the highest per-capita income in the nation, Klepper-Smith said people are starting to question what's the worth of living in communities with high taxes, high energy costs and bad traffic.

"There are other issues than earning a dollar," Klepper-Smith said.

Fairfield County's population stood at 900,440 in 2006 compared to 901,086 in 2005. The county's population is up compared to 2000, when the bureau said it was 882,567.

New Haven County's population also showed a slight dip between 2005 and 2006 for similar reasons. Its population was 845,244 in 2006, compared to 824,008 in 2000.

The bureau also released figures on race.

The populations of blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians all increased in Fairfield and New Haven counties between 2000 to 2006. Asians saw the largest percentage increase as their population grew by 2.6 percent. Whites saw the smallest increase with 0.6 percent.

In New Haven, the Asian population increased by 42 percent and whites by 0.2 percent. In both counties, whites remained in the majority.

Nationally, however, more counties reported that there was no race with a majority, according to the census.

Of the nation's 3,141 counties, 303 now have all races in the minority. That's an increase of eight since 2005.


Rob Varnon, who covers business, can be reached at 330-6216.


Census Damage Control
NYTIMES editorial
Published: June 23, 2008

Preparations for the 2010 census are a shambles.

Committees in the House have been holding hearings to vet the problems and monitor progress. But with each hearing, it becomes more obvious that prospects for a robust census are unlikely to improve considerably unless and until the next president brings in new leaders. They are needed at the Commerce Department, which includes the Census Bureau, and at the bureau itself, which — like so many federal agencies — has been mismanaged and demoralized during the Bush years.

Congress, in the meantime, has damage control to do. For starters, lawmakers should pass a census funding bill for 2009, pending now in the House, that includes a ban on the use of the bureau’s budget to offer prizes to people for sending in their census forms. It’s morally dubious — and bad public policy — to bribe people to do their civic duty.

Also, research has shown that people who do not fill out their census forms would be unlikely to fill out prize forms, too. Including a sweepstakes with the census would invite errors, such as multiple submissions. But all those well-documented negatives have not stopped the Commerce Department from supporting the idea.

Lawmakers must also ensure that the final census funding bill includes a provision from the House version that would require the bureau to spend $8 million to $10 million of its budget on the Census in Schools program. The program, which provides take-home materials to educate families about the census, proved effective in reaching hard-to-count populations during the 2000 census. But the House committee that oversees the bureau learned last spring that the Commerce Department planned to shrink the program.

The Census Bureau also announced earlier this month that it intends to fingerprint its temporary work force of 500,000 census takers, a logistical feat that will require hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours. The wisdom of fingerprinting is debatable. In the past, the bureau has screened workers via F.B.I. name checks, but obtained a waiver from the law that requires the fingerprinting of federal employees. That was adequate to keep the public safe: in 2000, four census employees were accused of crimes, but in all four cases the charges were dropped or the accused acquitted.

Demands for public safety are perhaps louder now and that may argue for better background checks. But what is not debatable is that a decision to fingerprint should have been made years ago, and budgeted for accordingly, in term of money and time. By leaving it until now, it places a huge burden on an already strained process and seems intended to strain it even further.

The quality of the nation’s democracy depends on the census, because the numbers are used to decide the number of Congressional seats from each state and hence the number of votes each state has in the Electoral College. It’s hard to ignore the impression of partisan motives in policies that hobble the census, because an inaccurate census invariably undercounts out-of-the-mainstream groups not typically aligned with Republicans.

Over the next several months, Congress can keep the census preparations from deteriorating further. Come 2009, the next president and the next Congress will have to give a new census team all the help it needs to try to get the count firmly on track by 2010.


2010 Census: Who Should Count?
By MICHAEL REGAN | Courant Staff Writer
September 30, 2007

Border states in America's South and West are battlegrounds in the debate over illegal immigration, but when it's time to pass out seats in Congress, they are beneficiaries as well, a new study says.

Because of their large populations of undocumented residents, Texas and Arizona will each get one extra seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2010 Census, the Connecticut State Data Center projects in a report being released today. California will keep two seats it otherwise would have lost.

Overall, the South and West each stand to gain five seats in the House, the center at the University of Connecticut says. If it weren't for their populations of illegal immigrants, each of these regions would gain only three.

The big loser in the reapportionment will be the Midwest, the center says. Five states in that region are projected to lose a total of six seats, four more than they would have if illegal immigrants were not included in the census tally.

Connecticut, which lost a seat in the last reapportionment, should keep the five it now has, but the Northeast as a whole will lose four - two in New York and one each in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

There's more than congressional clout at stake in the reapportionment: It also helps determine the makeup of the Electoral College. And the census itself influences everything from federal aid to the makeup of state legislatures. So as the 2010 Census approaches, attention is turning to the issue of whether it's fair to continue counting illegal immigrants.

Orlando J. Rodriguez, manager of the Connecticut State Data Center and author of the new report, considered that issue when designing the study. He figured the reapportionment two ways - one in which all residents are counted, as is currently done, and one in which illegal immigrants are factored out. Although politics watchers have been handicapping the 2010 reapportionment almost since 2000 was completed, Rodriguez said this is the first study he knows of to factor in the immigration question.

In part, the shift expected in 2010 is the result of a long-term population trend that has states in the South and West growing far faster than states in the Northeast and Midwest. In the 1960s, the Northeast and Midwest had 233 seats in the House, the South and West 202. The numbers roughly reversed two decades later, and now stand at 183 to 252. The new CSDC report projects that the South and West will have 262 seats to 173 for the Northeast and Midwest after 2010.

The winners and losers don't fall strictly along regional lines. New Jersey, for example, with the highest proportion of undocumented workers in the Northeast, would lose one seat if illegal residents were not counted, according to the CSDC projection. Montana would gain a seat if they weren't counted. Louisiana, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is expected to lose a seat regardless.

The new report suggests that the country's illegal immigrant population is playing an increasing role in congressional apportionment. After the 2000 Census, an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies found that illegal immigrant populations affected the apportionment of four seats. The CSDC report projects that six seats will be affected by undocumented residents after 2010.

The projections are based on the most reliable data available, Rodriguez said, but studying the undocumented residents population is imprecise at best.

"Nobody really knows for sure," he said. "The bottom line is not `Is this specifically going to happen?' What I was trying to get across is, `Look at the impact [illegal immigration] is having.'"

Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the impact is cause for concern. "You can make a strong case that there is a fundamental unfairness about this," Camarota said. "You do raise competing questions of fairness, justice, one man-one vote."

Counting illegal immigrants gives some voters disproportionate political clout. For example, Montana, which missed out on an additional seat after 2000 because of the weight of illegal immigrants elsewhere and is projected to fall short again after 2010, had almost 650,000 registered voters last November and one representative in Congress.

By contrast, California, which would lose two of its 53 seats after 2010 if illegal immigrants weren't counted, according to the projections, has four districts each with fewer than 200,000 voters registered. One district has fewer than 170,000 voters.

"You can win election [to Congress] in California with less than 50,000 votes," Camarota said.

But that's beside the point, said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The size of the electorate has nothing to do with representation in Congress.

Members of Congress "are elected to represent constituents. They don't just represent citizens," Vargas said. "They don't just represent the people who vote for them. They represent everybody in that congressional district."

Vargas said the framers of the Constitution drew distinctions among various classes of residents at various points. When it came to apportioning seats in Congress, he said, everyone was counted - although slaves were only counted as three-fifths of a person. "Would we go back to a time when we considered a person here to be less than human, less than a whole person?" he said.

At a time when illegal immigration in general is under heightened scrutiny, its connection to the census and reapportionment is likely to get renewed attention. One question that has already come up is how immigration enforcement might affect the count.

In 2000, the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service suspended raids before and after the census so as not to deter undocumented residents from responding. Earlier this year, when a census official raised the possibility of a similar freeze in 2010, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement firmly ruled out the possibility.

Camarota and Vargas agreed that the question of what ICE does in 2010 depends on who is elected president in 2008.

"Under the unlikely circumstance that the Republicans win and they institute a comprehensive enforcement strategy, who knows?" Camarota said. "It could reduce the number of illegals significantly, and it could reduce the response rate."

But Vargas said the Constitution charges the government with counting everyone in the census.

"So the federal government needs to have some common sense about what its other agencies are doing that is going to compromise its constitutional duty to enumerate all persons," he said.

The other question is whether there will be renewed efforts to keep undocumented residents - or all noncitizens - out of the reapportionment count. Anti-illegal immigrant groups and states losing representation have been unsuccessful in court over the issue in the past, and Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, which lost one seat after 2000 and is projected to lose another after 2010, has proposed a constitutional amendment to limit the reapportionment count to citizens.

Margo J. Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and author of several books and papers on the census and reapportionment, said it's hardly a new question.

"It's an old issue. It goes back to 1790," she said. "Every time there is in some sense a political crisis in the country or a sectional dispute, the communities that think they're not going to gain from it take a hard look at it and wonder whether the rules are fair."


Committee Will Tackle Congressional Districts Last
CT NEWSJUNKIE
by Christine Stuart | Sep 13, 2011 2:34pm
Posted to: Congress, Election 2012, State Capitol

The bipartisan Reapportionment Committee has gotten a lot of work done since it started in April, but it admitted at it meeting Tuesday that it won’t meet its Sept. 15 deadline.  The laws governing the committee dictate that the four legislative leaders will need to be reappointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, then they will reappoint the four other lawmakers currently on the committee before naming a ninth member.

They will have 30 days to appoint the ninth member.  Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, said the committee’s inability to reach a conclusion on how to draw the political districts in the state is “not because of any partisan rancor or acrimony.”

“It’s just an enormous task and an incredibly important task,” McKinney said.

Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, agreed with McKinney’s remarks and added that when it comes time for a ninth member to be appointed he would like the committee to find someone who fit’s the profile of the late Nelson Brown.

“Somebody who was extraordinarily well-respected by both parties, a senior statesman, someone who understands the General Assembly,” Looney said.

Brown had been appointed to the committee twice over the last few decades as the ninth member, but he died last week at the age of 89. 

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said he and House Speaker Chris Donovan have talked about how the lines would be drawn for “well over 100 districts.”

“And it is a very tedious and complicated process,” Cafero added.

Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, declined to say how many of the 36 Senate districts he’s discussed with McKinney.

“I don’t anticipate we’ll be releasing districts in a piecemeal way,” Williams said.

Donovan, who is also running for the open 5th Congressional District seat, said the committee has been concentrating on the House and Senate districts.

Five candidates in that race including Donovan live in border towns and that district will have to lose at least 400 people.  Asked if any of the candidates need to worry about what the committee will decide, Cafero joked, “we’ve cut all of them out.”

Donovan was quick to point out that the 5th district is only off by about 400 residents, “that’s not a town.”

Looney said the Congressional districts will be like a domino moving from east to west because it’s the 2nd Congressional district, which takes up the eastern portion of the state, that will need to lose population. He said that district will have to be reduce by about 15,000 whereas the other four Congressional districts are pretty close to population.

Each Congressional district needs to include 714,819 this year and the 2nd Congressional District has a population of about 729,771 people, according to U.S. Census data.  Cafero said this year the population growth has been in the northeast corner of the state and the committee will be looking at shifting districts from east to west in order to reach their constitutionally mandated goals.

In trying to explain the process to his wife Cafero equated it to hanging wallpaper.

“Too much glue in the upper right hand corner and you’re trying to push this glue westward and southward. It’s tricky. Tricky stuff,” Cafero said.

Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, said the committee has not addressed the Congressional districts at all yet and have focused all of their energy on the House and Senate seats.

“We had discussed many districts, but we really haven’t reached a final conclusion,” O’Neill said. “We’ve done a lot of work so that when we got to the commission phase it will go more quickly.”




A Republican Bonus in 2012
The GOP is poised to reap redistricting rewards.
Michael Barone, National Review
November 8, 2010 12:00 A.M.


Let’s try to put some metrics on last Tuesday’s historic election. Two years ago, the popular vote for the House of Representatives was 54 percent Democratic and 43 percent Republican. In historic perspective, that’s a landslide. The Democrats didn’t win the House popular vote in the South, as they did from the 1870s up through 1992, but they won a larger percentage in the 36 non-Southern states, as far as I can tell, than ever before.

We don’t yet know this year’s House popular vote down to the last digit, partly because California takes five weeks to count all its votes (Brazil, which voted last Sunday, counted its votes in less than five hours). But the nationwide exit poll had it at 52 percent Republican and 46 percent Democratic, which is probably within a point or so of the final number.

That’s similar to 1994, and you have to go back to 1946 and 1928 to find years when Republicans did better. The numbers from those years aren’t commensurate, though, since the then-segregated and Democratic South cast few popular votes (blacks were effectively disfranchised, and since the all-but-certain winner was chosen in the Democratic primary, many southerners didn’t bother to vote in the general election). So you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.

Nationally, Republicans narrowly missed winning Senate seats in heavily Democratic Washington and in Nevada and California, where less problematic nominees might have won. As in all wave years, they missed winning half a dozen House seats by a whisker (or a suddenly discovered bunch of ballots).

But they made really sweeping gains in state legislatures, where candidate quality makes less difference. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans gained about 125 seats in state senates and 550 seats in state houses — 675 seats in total. That gives them more seats than they’ve won in any year since 1928.

Republicans snatched control of about 20 legislative houses from Democrats — and by margins that hardly any political insiders expected. Republicans needed five seats for a majority in the Pennsylvania house and won 15; they needed four seats in the Ohio house and got 13; they needed 13 in the Michigan house and got 20; they needed two in the Wisconsin senate and four in the Wisconsin house, and gained four and 14; they needed five in the North Carolina senate and nine in the North Carolina house, and gained 11 and 15.

All those gains are hugely significant in redistricting. When the 2010 census results are announced next month, the 435 House seats will be reapportioned among the states, and state officials will draw new district lines in each state with more than one representative. Nonpartisan commissions authorized by voters this year will do the job in (Democratic) California and (Republican) Florida, but in most states it’s up to legislators and governors (although North Carolina’s governor cannot veto redistricting bills).

Republicans look to have a bigger advantage in this redistricting cycle than they’ve ever had before. It appears that in the states that will have more than five districts (you can make only a limited partisan difference in smaller states), Republicans will control redistricting in 13 states, with a total of 165 House districts, and Democrats will have control in only four states, with a total of 40 districts. You can add Minnesota (seven or eight districts) to the first list if the final count gives Republicans the governorship, and New York (27 or 28 districts) to the second list if the final count gives the Democrats the state senate.

When the Tea Party movement first made itself heard, House speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as “Astroturf,” a phony organization financed by a few millionaires. She may have been projecting — those union demonstrators you see cheering at Democratic events or heckling Republicans are often paid by the hour to do so.

In any case, the depth and the breadth of Republican victories in state legislative races, even more than their gain of 60-plus seats in the U.S. House and six seats in the Senate, shows that the Tea Party movement was a genuine popular upheaval of vast dimensions. Particularly in traditional blue-collar areas, voters rejected longtime Democrats or abandoned lifelong partisan allegiances and elected Republicans.

This will make a difference, and not just in redistricting. State governments face budget crunches and are supposed to act to help roll out Obamacare. Republican legislatures can cut spending and block the rollout.

“I won,” Barack Obama told Republican leaders seeking concessions last year. This year, he didn’t.



Poll reveals baby boomers' retirement fears
YAHOO
By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press
5 April 2011

WASHINGTON – Baby boomers facing retirement are worried about their finances, and many believe they'll need to work longer than planned or will never be able to retire, a new poll finds.

The 77 million-strong generation born between 1946 and 1964 has clung tenaciously to its youth. Now, boomers are getting nervous about retirement. Only 11 percent say they are strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort.

A total of 55 percent said they were either somewhat or very certain they could retire with financial security. But another 44 percent express little or no faith they'll have enough money when their careers end.

Further underscoring the financial squeeze, 1 in 4 boomers still working say they'll never retire. That's about the same number as those who say they have no retirement savings.

The Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll comes as politicians face growing pressure to curb record federal deficits, and budget hawks of both parties have expressed a willingness to scale back Social Security, the government's biggest program.

The survey suggests how politically risky that would be: 64 percent of boomers see Social Security as the keystone of their retirement earnings, far outpacing pensions, investments and other income.

The survey also highlights the particular retirement challenge facing boomers, who are contemplating exiting the work force just as the worst economy in seven decades left them coping with high jobless rates, tattered home values and painfully low interest rates that stunt the growth of savings.

"I have six kids," said Gary Marshalek, 62, of South Abington Township, Pa., who services drilling equipment and says he has repeatedly refinanced his home and dipped into his pension to pay for his children's college. His inability to afford retirement "sounds like America at the moment," Marshalek said. "Sounds like the normal instead of the abnormal."

Marshalek was among the 25 percent in the poll who say they plan to never retire. People who are unmarried, earn under $50,000 a year, or say they did a poor job of financial planning are disproportionately represented among that group.

Overall, nearly 6 in 10 baby boomers say their workplace retirement plans, personal investments or real estate lost value during the economic crisis of the past three years. Of this group, 42 percent say they'll have to delay retirement because their nest eggs shrank.

Though the first boomers are turning 65 this year, the poll finds that 28 percent already consider themselves retired. Of those still working, nearly half want to retire by age 65 and about another quarter envision retiring between 66 and 70.

Two-thirds of those still on the job say they will keep working after they retire, a plan shared about evenly across sex, marital status and education lines, the survey finds. That contrasts with the latest Social Security Administration data on what older people are actually doing: Among those age 65-74, less than half earned income from a job in 2008.

"I'm going to keep working after I retire, if nothing else for the health care," said Nadine Krieger, 58, a food plant worker from East Berlin, Pa. Citing $50,000 in retirement savings that she says won't go far, she added, "We probably could have saved more, but you can't when you have a couple of kids in the house."

About 6 in 10 married boomers expect a comfortable retirement, compared with just under half of the unmarried. Midwesterners are most likely to express confidence in their finances.

"I'm a good planner," said Robert Rivers, 63, a retired New York State employee in Ravena, N.Y. He still works seasonally for the federal government and collects a modest military pension. A recreational pilot, he says he has scaled back his lifestyle by flying and driving less.

"I'm spending money I have, not spending it and trying to repay it," he said.

Among boomers like Rivers who plan to continue working in retirement, 35 percent say they'll do so to make ends meet. Slightly fewer cite a desire to earn money for extras or to simply stay busy.

Excluding their homes, 24 percent of boomers say they have no retirement savings. Those with nothing include about 4 in 10 who are non-white, are unmarried or didn't finish college.

At the other end, about 1 in 10 say they have banked at least $500,000. Those who have saved at least something typically have squirreled away $100,000, with about half putting away more than that and half less.

Despite the worries and dearth of savings cited by many, only about a third of boomers say it's likely that they'll have to make do with a more modest lifestyle once they retire. Only about 1 in 4 expect to struggle just to pay their expenses.

Financial experts say such expectations are often not realistic.

"Most families have to make a significant adjustment from their working lives to their retirement years," said financial planner Sheryl Garrett, who runs the Garrett Planning Network. Ads that show silver-haired couples strolling off into the sunset do not represent the typical retirement, she added.

The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll was conducted from March 4-13 by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Calif., and involved online interviews with 1,160 baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Knowledge Networks used traditional telephone and mail sampling methods to randomly recruit respondents. People selected who had no Internet access were given it for free.






 

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