Voting Rights Act Demographics

Examining patterns of the citizen voting age population … the Voting Rights Act prohibits development of voting districts that discriminate against potential voters on the basis of race and/or language minority status. To examine how voting districts comply with the Voting Rights Act requires data on the citizen voting age population (CVAP) by race/origin for small geographic areas. The ACS 2013 5-yearCVAP special tabulation (released February 2015) provides these estimates for census tracts and block groups (and higher level geography). See the related Web section for more detail.

The CVAP estimates provide only one part of the required data. The voting district boundaries and census block boundaries/demographics are also needed to be used in combination with the CVAP estimates. Using GIS tools, the CVAP estimates can be used in mapping applications, such as those reviewed in this section, in combination with voting district boundaries to reveal potential non-compliance in the structure of voting districts.

Use this interactive table in this section to view/rank/compare/query national scope citizen and CVAP estimates by race/ethnicity by census tract. See more about the ACS CVAP data.

Patterns of CVAP Hispanic Population by Neighborhood
The map presented below shows patterns of the Hispanic citizen voting age population as a percent of total population by census tract in the Los Angeles area. Percentage intervals by green color pattern are shown in legend at left of map. Congressional Districts are shown with dark blue boundaries and labeled with congressional district codes. It is easy to see where concentrations of percent Hispanic citizen voting age population are located and how the distribution relates to congressional districts.

Click graphic for larger view; view developed with CV XE GIS.
Map view developed using CVAP2013 GIS Project.

Patterns of CVAP Asian Alone Population by Neighborhood
The map presented below shows patterns of the Asian alone citizen voting age population as a percent of total population by census tract in the Los Angeles area. Percentage intervals are shown by blue color patterns are shown in legend at left of map. Congressional Districts are shown with dark blue boundaries and labeled with congressional district codes. It is easy to see where concentrations of percent Asian alone citizen voting age population are located and how the distribution relates to congressional districts.

Click graphic for larger view; view developed with CV XE GIS.
Map view developed using CVAP2013 GIS Project.

Examining Relationships Among Key Geography and Demographics
An upcoming post will review use of GIS tools examine the relationship between 1) census tracts and the CVAP data, 2) voting districts and 3) census blocks and census block demographics in more detail. That section will review use of downloadable GIS tools and resources that can be used to examine these geographic-demographic relationships in more detail. Voting Rights Act (VRA) stakeholders can better see how to use these data and tools to achieve VRA goals.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He is an expert in developing hard-to-estimate demographic estimates and projections. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data.

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