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The Census and Congressional Redistricting Plenary

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: American Association of Geographers
Poster #:
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM (Mountain Standard Time)
Room: Virtual Track 2
Organizers: Michelle Kinzer


We are three months into the year 2020 which means the decennial census is well underway. Population data that the country collects through the census is utilized by geographers, demographers, urban planners, and countless other researchers and professionals. While these rich datasets are critical to population related research, we must recall that one of the primary reasons for the decennial census, as outlined in the Constitution, is to redraw Congressional districts and fairly apportion seats in the House of Representatives. While 2020 is spent collecting these important datasets, 2021 is the year in which that data becomes actionable and yields new Congressional districts.

With the task of redrawing Congressional districts left to the states, we know through the process of gerrymandering that certain districts have been created less fair and equally representative than others. How does each state use decennial census data to draw Congressional districts, and under what parameters? What is the political context of some of the most heavily gerrymandered districts? In terms of fair redistricting done right, which states serve as the best examples of bipartisan or nonpartisan processes? And how can we as geographers play a more prominent role in the creation and mapping of new districts?

This session will feature insight from James Whitehorne, Chief of the Redistricting & Voting Rights Office of the U.S. Census Bureau. John Wertman of Esri and Michelle Kinzer of the AAG will discuss the historical trends and political context of gerrymandering across various states. Finally, we will have Matthew Viverito showcase Esri's newly updated redistricting tool.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist James Whitehorne U.S. Bureau Of the Census 15
Panelist John Wertman Esri 15
Panelist Michelle Kinzer American Association of Geographers 15
Panelist Matthew Viverito Esri 15

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