As of the 2012 election cycle updates (reflecting redistricting), the 6,558 state legislative districts in the U.S. are comprised of 4,629 lower/house chambers and 1,929 upper/senate chambers. See details about state legislative district urban/rural composition — interactive table. In most states the state legislative district geographic areas changed substantially in connection with redistricting and Census 2010. The graphic shown below shows Texas senate district 016 as of Census 2010 before redistricting (blue boundary) and Texas senate district 016 as of 2012 after redistricting (red boundary) in the Dallas, Texas area. The pointer shows where the district has a common boundary in 2010 and 2012.
Understanding the current legislative district geography is essential to analysis, planning and decision-making and the demographic-economic characteristics of the district. This post is focused on accessing and using state legislative district (SLD) geographic-demographic-economic data. Census 2010 and American Community Survey (ACS) SLD data are available only for SLD areas as defined in 2010, prior to 2012 election cycle new redrawn boundaries.
State Legislative Districts
State legislative districts are the areas from which members are elected to state or equivalent entity legislatures. State legislative districts are comprised of upper (senate) and lower (house) chambers. Nebraska has a unicameral legislature and the District of Columbia has a single council; these are treated as upper-chamber legislative areas in the interactive table.
State Legislative District Shapefiles & Vintages
2010 and 2012 (2012 election cycle) vintage state legislative district (SLD) shapefiles are included in a U.S. national scope GIS project available to ProximityOne User Group members (no fee). These shapefiles have been developed by ProximityOne and are based on SLD plans and data submitted to the Census Bureau.
Where are 2012 (current) vintage state legislative districts? The SLD GIS project provides the best way to view/examine SLD boundaries of interest. These resources provide the best capability to view simple SLD boundaries possibly in combination with other types of geography and labeling.
Texas 2012 SLD-House — statewide view
Zoom- to Texas using national scope shapefile; query placed on layer to view only Texas SLD-House with SLD labels.
Texas 2012 SLD-House — zoom into Austin area
The next view shows a zoom into the Austin area (see at pointer in above graphic). It is easy to see the boundary of SLD-House 048. Further zoom-in could provide more detail.
State Legislative District Demographic Data & Vintages
While Census 2010 demographic data and American Community Survey (ACS) data are available for the 2010 vintage SLDs, the Census Bureau has not developed Census 2010 data or ACS data for 2012 (current) vintage SLDs. There are no Census 2010 or ACS “richer-demographics” tabulated for 2012 (current) vintage SLDs available from Census.
To develop Census 2010 demographics for 2012 (current) vintage SLDs, ProximityOne integrated 2012 SLD codes from state provided census block equivalency files into the Census 2010 Summary File 1 block level header/geography records. Using the additional 2012 SLD code, population and housing using data have been developed for 2012 (current) vintage SLDs.
Examine State Legislative Districts of Interest
Members of the ProximityOne User Group may download and use the national scope SLD GIS project with CV XE GIS. Join now; no fee. Add other geographic layers. View SLDs in context of 113th Congressional Districts. View different SLD vintages. Create different zoom and labeled views. Integrate your own data.