Black Migration Changes the Political Landscape in Many States
Nadra Kareem Nittle | 7/20/2011, 11:59 a.m.
Democratic pollster Ron Lester stresses that populations in northeastern states dropped overall but says he doesn't expect that to have much political impact.
"The loss has been spread around," Lester says. "It's a lot of college-educated voters who are leaving."
Lester also questions the notion that population declines in northern states will benefit Republicans in that region or nationally. "In places like New York, I don't think that's going to them help pick up a seat in Congress," he says. "I think that right now, you have  members of the Congressional Black Caucus. When redistricting is over, you'll have the same number."
In the historically Black District of Columbia, the African-American population decreased by 11.5 percent between 2000 and 2010. In contrast, the Black population in nearby Charles County in Maryland doubled as African-Americans departed the District.
David Bositis, senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C., doesn't expect the Black population decrease to have a huge impact on the city's political scene.
"By and large, white voters have almost always had a major say in D.C. politics, so the fact that D.C. is becoming less Black isn't really changing the politics," Bositis says. "The exception is Marion Barry. He was the only politician in D.C. who was able to win without white support." The former mayor is a City Council member.
Nationally, Black movement away from cities will eventually give minorities more political clout in areas where they settle, Bositis says. He adds, though, that this phenomenon will take time because the black and Latino population is on average younger than the white population.
"Certainly in the future, it's going to represent an advantage but not immediately because younger people are not as politically active as older people are, and the white population is getting quite old," he says.