The U.S. Census Bureau announced its first local level findings from the 2020 data collection cycle on August 12.
The new numbers — which drill down to provide demographic information at the county, city and block levels — reveal that California is more multiracial, more urban and facing population shifts that will likely lead to redrawing the boundaries of the state’s congressional and legislative districts.
Based on estimates the Census Bureau released in April, California is already losing a seat in the United States House of Representatives for the first time in the state’s 171-year history, bringing the state’s congressional delegation down to 52 members. That loss of one seat will also equate to a decline in the amount of federal funding California receives every year.
Since August of 2020, the 14 members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission have been working on the once-in-a-decade project of redrawing the lines of the congressional, state Senate and Assembly and State Board of Equalization districts. There are five Democrats, five Republicans and four people who are not members of either party serving on the commission.
“The redistricting data provides population counts as well as demographic characteristics of ethnicity, race and voting age at all levels of geography,” said James Whitehorne, chief of the Redistricting and Voting Rights Data Office, U.S. Census Bureau. “While the primary purpose of these data is for states to redraw their districts, these statistics will also tell us how many people live in each city, each county and each block.”
Those numbers also determine how – and how much — state and federal funding will be allocated to counties and cities in the state.
Based on the numbers, most of the changes coming to the state’s legislative districts are expected to happen where there has been population increases, slow growth or a loss of residents – areas in the rural northernmost regions of the state and in Southern California counties around or below Los Angeles. Growth across the Los Angeles area, for example, over the last 10 years has been slow, but some cities like Irvine in Orange County are now among the fastest-growing in the country.
Over the last 10 years, the complexion of California has changed significantly. Driven mostly by population growth among Hispanics, the state joined Hawaii, the District of Columbia and New Mexico as places in the United States where whites are no longer the majority. The state’s Hispanic population grew from 37.6% in 2010 to 39.4 % in 2020 while the white population dropped from 40.1% to 34.7%.
The state’s Black population has also seen a decrease of 2.7% from a little over 6 % to 5.7%. The current total Black population is now 2,237,044.
California is also the second-most diverse state after Hawaii, according to the Census Bureau.
“As the country has grown, we have continued to evolve in how we measure the race and ethnicity of the people who live here,” said Nicholas Jones, director and senior advisor of Race and Ethnic Research and Outreach, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau implemented a significant change to the 2020 census data collection. It used two separate questions to gather an additional layer of ethnic information besides the usual inquiries on race and Hispanic origin. For example, if a participant identified as Black or African American, there was also an option to specify nationalities like Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian Somali, etc.
“The improvements we made to the 2020 census yield a more accurate portrait of how people self-identify in response to two separate questions on Hispanic origin and race. Our analysis of the 2020 census results show that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more racially and ethnically diverse than what we measured in the past.”
Across the U.S., the results showed that the white population remained the largest in the country at 204.3 million with an additional 31.1 million identifying as mixed in combination with White. The multiracial population comprised the second-highest population for the first time at 49.9 million alone or combined, surpassing the Black or African American population at 46.9 million.
The U.S. population is now 57.8% white, 18.7% Hispanic, 12.4% Black and 6% Asian.
There were several other notable findings shared by the bureau during the presentation. The U.S. population is currently 331.4 million people, an increase of 22.7 million over the past 10 years. The 7.4% increase is the second-lowest growth rate in history.
Overall, national population growth was centered around urban areas over the last 10 years. California is home to three of the top 10 largest cities in the country. San Jose stands at No. 10 with a population of 1.01 million (a 7.1% increase), San Diego is at No. 8 with 1.4 million people (a 6.1% increase), and No. 2 on the list is Los Angeles with 3.8 million residents (a 2.8% increase).
For the first time ever, all cities in the top 10 (with the highest populations) have over 1 million people.
According to the Census Bureau this first release of local redistricting data is in a legacy format that will be easier for experienced data analysts to navigate.
“In September, we will release the exact same data in a far more user-friendly format that people are familiar with and will allow for easier searching,” said Jones.
Visit census.gov for more detailed information, charts, and analysis.
Bay Area Activist Seeks Congressional Seat in Newly Formed District 8
Last year, the California Black Census and Redistricting Hub pushed the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw a new congressional district to create consolidate the voting power of these diverse communities based on the results of the 2020 U.S. Census. (The new district now spans the I-80 corridor across Contra Costa and Solano counties, including Richmond, El Cerrito, Pittsburg, Vallejo, Fairfield, and a portion of Antioch, is the most diverse in the region.)
By Troy Finley
Cheryl Sudduth, a Bay Area community organizer and international negotiator, is seeking election as the first U.S. Representative for California’s new 8th Congressional district. She is challenging incumbent Democratic Congressman John Garamendi.
Last year, the California Black Census and Redistricting Hub pushed the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw a new congressional district to consolidate the voting power of these diverse communities based on the results of the 2020 U.S. Census.
(The new district now spans the I-80 corridor across Contra Costa and Solano counties, including Richmond, El Cerrito, Pittsburg, Vallejo, Fairfield, and a portion of Antioch, is the most diverse in the region.)
The commission agreed to the community concerns and ended up creating the only district in the entire state with at least 15% Latino, Black, white, and Asian populations. But it is also a district with areas of historically underserved and under-resourced communities and schools – where residents throughout struggle to find affordable housing, good paying jobs, public transit, and ongoing environmental hazards.
The five oil refineries located in the new district have large impacts on the local economy and public health of the local communities but can seem a world away from the Napa and Sonoma wine country. It is also a district that Garamendi believes he doesn’t have to reside in to represent it.
Once the new district was created, the next goal was to recruit a local person of color to represent it. Enter Cheryl Sudduth, a local community leader and government contracting officer… a candidate for the new seat.
As a multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual woman with disabilities, experienced in international contracting and environmental sciences, she fit the mold exactly.
“It was never in the plan to run,” said Sudduth. She was traveling back to the Bay Area from a water conference and got a call she never expected.
The campaign for Congress was a long shot from the start. “People were saying, she seems ‘fine’ but Congressman Garamendi is a veteran politician and someone who looks like me, who speaks like me, who moves like me could never get elected over him…maybe next time,” Sudduth recalls.
However, I believed then – as I do now – that the toughest fights are always worth taking on,” she said. “I’ve always been told that government only works when people, everyday people like you and me, raise our voices and demand change.
“Our communities have been so ignored,” she said, “I just feel like it’s our responsibility to show up and stand up for us against this continued effort to bring in people who do not live here yet always want to govern our communities.”
Her campaign has mostly been staffed with volunteers – Millennials, Gen Xers, lots of women. She has made a point to reject corporate donations and relies solely on small donors; nearly 70% of her campaign funds came from individual contributions under $200.
Despite Garamendi’s proclamation that it isn’t ‘legally required’ to live in the district, Sudduth believes that his perspective reflects the out-of-touch nature of the current Congress and the sort of nepotism that seems to thrive within the Democratic machine that believes it a perfectly suitable system that a community which is 70% people of color has never had a person of color represent them on the federal level.
“Our political differences are mainly on issues of economic and racial justice,” she said. “He wants to represent us but doesn’t want to live among us? That’s why he’s not effective for us. He doesn’t have a stake in the game.
“I do have the advantage of being able to connect with the people of the community,” she said. She lives in the district near industry, which gives her firsthand experience with income inequality, housing and homeless issues, educational inequities, and racial injustices. “Frankly, anyone who doesn’t live in the district, hasn’t sent his children to our schools, spent with our small businesses and pay taxes here regularly, doesn’t drink our water or breathe our air, cannot possibly represent us.”
Suddoth believes she has a gift “resolving issues. So, every position I’ve held from Sony to Siebel/Oracle and Goodwill, AbilityOne, U.S. President’s Commission for People who are Blind or Disabled and Mattson Technology and now AC Transit, my elected office and appointed commissions, creating thousands of federal jobs, building housing, establishing healthcare programs – I have consistently delivered award winning solutions and community resources by focusing on the fix and not just the fight.
She also has direct experience in international contracting, having lived and worked in over a dozen countries managing and negotiating contracts in nine languages, in water and wastewater, in the environmental sciences, in creating jobs and overseeing fair housing projects, and equity advocacy.
Suddoth and members of her campaign are grateful for the many people who have endorsed her including ILWU Local 10, PEU 1, LAAAWPAC, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, former Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson, former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, and hundreds of elected, appointed officials and commissioners.
New California “Strike Force” Gives Teeth to State Housing Laws
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that California’s 17 million renters spend a significant portion of their paychecks on rent, with an estimated 700,000 Californians at risk of eviction. High home purchase costs — the median price of a single-family home in California is more than $800,000 — have led to the lowest homeownership rates since the 1940s.
By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media
To advance housing access, affordability and equity, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced earlier this month the creation of a Housing Strike Force.
The team, housed within the California Department of Justice (Cal DOJ) has been tasked with enforcing California housing laws that cities across the state have been evading or ignoring.
The strike force will conduct a series of roundtables across the state to educate and involve tenants and homeowners as the state puts pressure on municipalities failing to follow housing rules and falling short of housing production goals set by the state.
“California is facing a housing shortage and affordability crisis of epic proportion,” Bonta said. “Every day, millions of Californians worry about keeping a roof over their heads, and there are too many across this state who lack housing altogether.
“This is a top priority and a fight we won’t back down from. As Attorney General, I am committed to using all the tools my office has available to advance Californians’ fundamental right to housing.”
The Housing Strike Force will take “an innovative and intersectional approach” to addressing the housing crisis, focusing on tenant protections, housing availability and environmental sustainability, housing affordability, and equitable and fair housing opportunity for tenants and owners.
Bonta also launched a Housing Portal on the Cal DOJ’s web site with resources and information for California homeowners and tenants.
The strike force will enlist the expertise of attorneys from the Cal DOJ’s Land Use and Conservation Section, the Consumer Protection Section, the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Environment Section’s Bureau of Environmental Justice in its enforcement efforts.
“California has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address its housing crisis, thanks to the historic $22 billion housing and homelessness investments in this year’s budget. But it’ll only work if local governments do their part to zone and permit new housing,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “The attorney general’s emphasis on holding cities and counties accountable for fair housing, equity, and housing production is an important component to the state’s efforts to tackle the affordability crisis and create greater opportunities for all Californians to have an affordable place to call home.”
According to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the level of Black ownership nationally has decreased below levels achieved during the decades when housing discrimination was legal.
The 2020 census reports that there was a 29.6% gap between homeownership rates for African Americans and whites. Homeowners accounted for 44.6% of the Black population as compared to 74.2% for whites.
“Blacks have made little, if any, strides at closing the homeownership gap. Systemic discriminatory regulations and policies continue to thwart any meaningful effort at increasing Black homeownership,” Lydia Pope, NAREB’s president, said.
In California, the DOJ reports that over the last four decades, housing needs have outpaced housing production. It has caused a crisis that stretches from homelessness to unaffordable homes.
Despite significant effort, the DOJ stated that California continues to host a disproportionate share of people experiencing homelessness in the United States, with an estimated 150,000 Californians sleeping in shelters, in their cars, or on the street.
Bonta said that California’s 17 million renters spend a significant portion of their paychecks on rent, with an estimated 700,000 Californians at risk of eviction. High home purchase costs — the median price of a single-family home in California is more than $800,000 — have led to the lowest homeownership rates since the 1940s.
Due to decades of systemic racism, these challenges have continuously and disproportionately impacted communities of color. For example, Bonta said, almost half of Black households in California spend more than 30% of their income on housing, compared with only a third of White families.
In addition, less than one in five Black California households could afford to purchase the $659,380 statewide median-priced home in 2020, compared to two in five white California households that could afford to purchase the same median-priced home, the California Association Realtors (CAR) said in a February 2021 statement.
The percentage of Black home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in 2020 was 19%, compared to 38% for white households, CAR stated.
“Just as the price for a single-median home reaches a new record of more than $800,000 in California, everywhere you look, we are in a housing crisis,” Bonta said during the virtual news conference on Nov. 3.
“Among all households, one in four renters pays more than half of their income on rent.”
The Housing Strike Force will address the shortage and affordability crisis by enforcing state housing and development laws in the attorney general’s independent capacity and on behalf of the DOJ’s client agencies.
Earlier this year, Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 215, enhancing the attorney general’s concurrent role in enforcing state housing laws.
AB 215 was designed for reforms, facilitating housing development and combating the current housing crisis.
Newsom also signed Senate Bill (SB) 9 and SB 10 in September, legislation designed to help increase the supply of affordable housing and speed up the production of multi-family housing units statewide.
Authored by Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), SB 9 allows a homeowner to subdivide an existing single-family residential lot to create a duplex, triplex, or fourplex.
In response to SB 9, homeowner groups have formed across the state to oppose it. The groups are citing challenges they anticipate the law will bring to their communities, from garbage collection to increased risk of fires.
Livable California, a San Francisco-based non-profit that focuses on housing, is one of the groups that opposes the new laws.
“Senate Bill 9 ends single-family zoning to allow four homes where one now stands. It was signed by Gov. Newsom, backed by 73 of 120 legislators and praised by many media. Yet a respected pollster found 71% of California voters oppose SB 9,” the Livable California website reads.
“It opens 1.12 million homes in severe fire zones to unmanaged density — one-sixth of single-family homes in California,” the message continues. “SB 9 could reshape, in unwanted ways, hundreds of high-risk fire zones that sprawl across California’s urban and rural areas.”
But Newsom says the laws are urgent and overdue.
“The housing affordability crisis is undermining the California Dream for families across the state, and threatens our long-term growth and prosperity,” Newsom said in a Sept. 16 statement.
SB 10 was designed for jurisdictions that want to opt-in and up-zone urbanized areas close to transit, allowing up to 10 units per parcel without the oversight of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
“Passing strong housing laws is only the first step. To tackle our severe housing shortage, those laws must be consistently and vigorously enforced,” said California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), chair of the Senate Housing Committee. “I applaud Attorney General Bonta’s commitment to strong enforcement of California’s housing laws.”
The Housing Strike Force encourages Californians to send complaints or tips related to housing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on legal aid in your area is available at https://lawhelpca.org.
PRESS ROOM: American Bridge and Gov. Deval Patrick Announce Multi-Million-Dollar Investment in Grassroots Organizing
NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Organizing has to go deeper than getting out the vote on the eve of an election cycle,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “It has to be about forming relationships of trust and support year-round and about listening to and learning from local communities. Civic engagement is the foundation for lasting change and real political power. I want donors who support progressive politics to value and invest in that.”
‘BridgeTogether’ to Build on 2020 Election Successes, Ensure Key States Can Maintain Grassroots Infrastructure Year-Round by Partnering With Local Groups Mobilizing Voters in GA, AZ, PA
American Bridge 21st Century Foundation announced the launch of BridgeTogether, a new c(3) and c(4) fund established to support year-round local grassroots organizing. Conceived by American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick, BridgeTogether will invest in local community groups that are doing critical work to build and sustain a lasting grassroots infrastructure in their states and regions — beginning with Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
“Organizing has to go deeper than getting out the vote on the eve of an election cycle,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “It has to be about forming relationships of trust and support year-round and about listening to and learning from local communities. Civic engagement is the foundation for lasting change and real political power. I want donors who support progressive politics to value and invest in that.”
“Our research has made it clear: women are key to winning elections, and they are exhausted after four years of Donald Trump and a global pandemic. And, we know Democrats wouldn’t have won in 2020 without numerous grassroots organizations led by women and people of color. Grassroots outreach and community building is only more important than last year—not less—and it’s needed now,” said American Bridge 21st Century President Jessica Floyd. “Whether it’s people who don’t have voting booths in their neighborhoods or those who have never had someone knock on their door, BridgeTogether will invest in grassroots organizations that organize and mobilize their communities to ensure that people from every corner of America are represented.”
The first group of organizations to receive grants will include:
- Vote Riders, which Howard University Professor Carol Anderson called “[an organization that] makes the difference in whether thousands of people get to vote or are disenfranchised”
- 1K Women Strong, who contacted nearly 40,000 households through canvassing and phone banking in Georgia for the 2020 election
- Fair Count, a group founded by Stacey Abrams, which ensures that historically overlooked communities are counted accurately in the U.S. Census
- Unity in the Community, who recently helped thousands of people in South Philadelphia on Election Day by registering people to vote, giving rides to the polls, educating the community on candidates, and much more.
- VetsForward, a voting advocacy group based in Arizona that equips and mobilizes veterans to defend the ideals of our democracy.
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