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  #1  
Old 12-08-2012, 04:22 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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"What Republicans are really up against: population density"

That's the title of a nice little analysis that's been making its way around the web recently. In brief, there's a clear trend in the 2012 Presidential Election data: counties with less than 800 people per square mile are more likely than not to favor Republicans, and counties with more than 800 people per square mile tend to favor Democrats. Given that places with higher population density tend to have more people, and states with big cities tend to have more electoral votes, this represents a serious issue for the Republican party. How can they change their platform to be more appealing to city dwellers?
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:10 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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The fact that cities favor Democrats and rural areas favor Republicans has been known for ages. It's only really significant if the demographics are shifting: Is the country any more urban than it was four years ago?
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:13 PM
digs digs is offline
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Well, I was a rightie when I lived by myself, but hanging around people turned me more leftie. Just sayin'...
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:30 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Rather than changing their platform, they could enact legislation which would make people more interested in leaving the cities and moving to smaller towns. If the GOP starts behaving in a way that the city-dwellers will like, then they're becoming democrats, which seems to me to be counter-productive. On the other hand, if they get people to move to where the GOP members are, maybe the democrats will change their way of thinking.
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:39 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Sort of bizarre to make the x-axis of a graph half linear and half logarithmic.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:46 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Gerrymandering.
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:47 PM
jshore jshore is offline
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Actually, I don't even think the right-hand side of the graph is logarithmic (because a logarithmic axis would show a constant spacing between multiplicative factors, e.g., each constant spacing could represent a doubling).

I don't know what that axis is!
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:56 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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The graph is a little tricky, because there are a lot of different values of small population densities, and a few very large ones. Make the x-axis linear, and it has to be too wide for any page. Make it logarithmic, and you lose a lot of information about smaller values. I think the scale there is probably a reasonable compromise.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2012, 06:10 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The fact that cities favor Democrats and rural areas favor Republicans has been known for ages. It's only really significant if the demographics are shifting: Is the country any more urban than it was four years ago?
Rural/suburban vs urban. Of course, there is a blending of the two, and maybe it's at the 800 p/sf mark. I wonder what this would like like with data from, say, 20 years ago. Is the 800 s/sf point time invariant, or does it become larger over time?

Anyway, I think you hit the nail on the head with whether or not the country is becoming more urban rather than rural/suburban.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2012, 06:28 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The fact that cities favor Democrats and rural areas favor Republicans has been known for ages. It's only really significant if the demographics are shifting: Is the country any more urban than it was four years ago?
The urban population grew a bit faster than the rest of the country between 2000 and 2010.
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:03 PM
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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The Dems also have a challenge. In urban areas, people rub shoulders which makes minorities less threatening and public services more attractive. Unfortunately, land use restrictions drive up housing prices and displace people to the suburbs, where a different mindset takes hold. Sprawl isn't especially energy efficient either.

So forget about set asides for "Moderate income housing". Just add to housing supply: construct tall buildings along transit routes. Middle and lower income families will gravitate to older, more run-down housing. Stare down the neighborhood congestion groups and let the developers go wild.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:07 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
Stare down the neighborhood congestion groups and let the developers go wild.
I hear that Developers Gone Wild is quite the racy video!!
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  #13  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:16 PM
DigitalC DigitalC is online now
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You'd get similar graphs comparing young vs old, whites vs minorities, religious vs secular, etc. Urban vs rural is just one of the demographic fights the republicans are losing, it is not even the main one.
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:21 PM
JoelUpchurch JoelUpchurch is offline
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The birthrate in the United States has been below zero population group since the seventies. If it wasn't for immigration the population of the US would be going down.
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  #15  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:29 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Originally Posted by ultrafilter View Post
The urban population grew a bit faster than the rest of the country between 2000 and 2010.
The Census bureaus definition of "urban" seems to be "living in a political unit with a pop of over 50k". That doesn't directly have anything to do with population density. If people were flocking to the suburbs from both rural and urban areas, the Census bureaus measure of urbanized population might go up at the same time that population density dropped.
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  #16  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:37 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Originally Posted by jshore View Post
Actually, I don't even think the right-hand side of the graph is logarithmic (because a logarithmic axis would show a constant spacing between multiplicative factors, e.g., each constant spacing could represent a doubling).

I don't know what that axis is!
He says he "normalized the graph", but its not clear what that means. I think what he did is set the x-axis so each increment contains an equal fraction of the total US population. Which is actually a pretty neat way to do it, if that's what he did. But in any case, it only works if he's more clear about what he's doing.

In any case, assuming I'm right about what the graph displays, it appears that a large fraction of the US population lives in areas with less the 800 people/sq mile. Which makes sense, since people who live above that line vote for Dems in such large numbers that if they made up a larger fraction of the population, the Dems would never loose an election, which is obviously not the case.
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  #17  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:32 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The fact that cities favor Democrats and rural areas favor Republicans has been known for ages. It's only really significant if the demographics are shifting: Is the country any more urban than it was four years ago?
It wasn't always that way, tides shift. The northeast and west coast used to be republican. The south and midwest used to be democrat, rural areas used to subscribe to economic populism (as opposed to the plutocratic, anti-working class ideology they usually now support).

So things can and do change. The GOP has been facing a demographic pinch for the last decade and I think they know it, that is why they are pushing for voter repression so hard. But even that backfired, I believe minority voting went up in part because blacks and latinos were pissed about the GOP trying to take their right to vote away. I had no problem voting and I was in and out in 5 minutes, but if someone was trying to take my vote away I would've stood in line 10 hours to vote if I had to. The voter repression efforts may have only succeeded in motivating and cementing their opposition even more.

Millennials will be 40% of the electorate in 2020. Non-whites will also be close to 35% of the electorate (there is a lot of overlap between the two, something like 50-60% of millennials are non-white). Republicans are old white people who lose millions of talk radio/fox news viewers every election cycle to old age. There were more millennial voters in 2012 than there were 65+ voters. And politicians tend to fear the elderly, so the trend is going to get bigger in 2016.

But demographics can and do change. But in order for that to happen I think the parties have to realign. The south didn't change, the democratic and republican party changed their views on civil rights.

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-08-2012 at 08:35 PM..
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  #18  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:39 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
It wasn't always that way, tides shift. The northeast and west coast used to be republican. The south and midwest used to be democrat, rural areas used to subscribe to economic populism (as opposed to the plutocratic, anti-working class ideology they usually now support).
But in those days, the Democrats and Republicans were different parties.
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  #19  
Old 12-09-2012, 12:25 PM
BigAppleBucky BigAppleBucky is offline
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Cities are also good for women

http://allaboutcities.ca/worldwide-c...ood-for-women/

Quote:
**snip**

First, urban women and girls typically need to spend fewer hours doing household chores, including ensuring basic survival, than their rural counterparts.

**snip**


Second, in part by reducing time spent on household chores, living in cities allow more girls and women to attend school (boys also benefit here too).

**snip**


Third, city life for families and women is removing the economic bias in favor of sons, which world wide may be responsible for many fewer women being born — what the Economist called the missing 100 million women in the world’s population today due to abortion and infantside of female offspring (or gendercide as they call it). Although the historical cultural bias remains in many countries, urban women have the opportunities to earn as good of a living as men.
**snip**
The article doesn't say it, but medical services are generally superior in cities. That can be especially essential for women of child bearing age.

The Democratic Party has been far friendlier towards women than the Republican Party and since women gravitate to cities, that might explain part of the reason.
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  #20  
Old 12-09-2012, 01:25 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
But in those days, the Democrats and Republicans were different parties.
This is true, but the impression I get is the base of the GOP is now made up of religious fundamentalists and angry white people. I don't see the GOP changing anytime soon w/o losing a massive percent of their base.

It would be like if blacks and liberals were openly hostile to any attempt at outreach by the democratic party. The dems would just squeeze themselves into minority status after a while.

But the GOP is at least competent at politics. Even in minority status they know how to get their way.
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  #21  
Old 12-09-2012, 02:29 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is online now
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One problem with these analyses is that counties are kind of arbitrary political divisions and the population density of a county taken as a whole might not be telling you the whole story.

For an extreme example, look at San Bernardino County. Virtually all of its population lives in the little corner containing San Bernardino itself and a few other LA suburbs. It also has a vast desert hinterland that's mostly unpopulated, but does have some small cities and rural population. Even though it's population is nearly all urban, the population density of 85 people/sq mile implies a relatively rural county. That's an extreme example, but the same thing is true of a lot of especially western counties. I strongly suspect that most of those low-density Democrats seen on those charts are really urban and suburban voters from places like San Bernardino where funky county lines bring their population density figures down.

More generally, though, the picture I'm getting from most of those graphs, especially the one at the bottom with density plotted against % of the total population, is that the rural counties are overwhelmingly Republican, urban counties are overwhelmingly Democratic, but neither of those are a large portion of the population. The suburban or mixed urban/rural counties where most people actually live leaned Democratic... this year. That strikes me as pretttttty close to the conventional political wisdom. I don't see anything here that would imply that a rise in population density across the board will necessarily result in a general shift to the left. It would be interesting to see him make the same graphs for the '04 election-- I'm guessing the shift in politics of the middle-density voters would be a lot more dramatic than any shift in density.
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  #22  
Old 12-09-2012, 02:59 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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BigAppleBucky, that says that cities are good for women worldwide, and I can easily imagine that there are many countries where that's true. In a first-world nation like the US, though, I suspect that most of those advantages are equally available, or nearly so, to women in the cities and country alike.
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  #23  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:06 AM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by BigAppleBucky View Post
First, urban women and girls typically need to spend fewer hours doing household chores, including ensuring basic survival, than their rural counterparts.

Second, in part by reducing time spent on household chores, living in cities allow more girls and women to attend school (boys also benefit here too).
When was this written, 1950?
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  #24  
Old 12-10-2012, 10:26 AM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Originally Posted by Justin_Bailey View Post
When was this written, 1950?
See the post above yours.
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  #25  
Old 12-10-2012, 10:47 AM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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Maybe they could spend less time implying how rural America is the only "real america". That's so much bullshit and alienates city dwellers.
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  #26  
Old 12-10-2012, 12:17 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Obviously they need to thin the herd a bit. They have the guns.
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  #27  
Old 12-10-2012, 01:10 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by DigitalC View Post
You'd get similar graphs comparing young vs old, whites vs minorities, religious vs secular, etc. Urban vs rural is just one of the demographic fights the republicans are losing, it is not even the main one.
Actually, it would appear to be. See this "Red States/Blue States" map (based on 2008 election results), shaded from blue through purple to red, and broken down by county. The most urbanized counties are solid blue, the most sparsely-populated rural counties are solid red, and everything between is shades of purple.

There is a clear geographical-ideological division in American politics, and it is not North v. South, nor East v. West, nor Coasts v. Flyover, nor even Red States vs. Blue States -- it is City v. Countryside.

And whenever a political/social conflict comes down to City v. Countryside, the City almost always wins, and almost always deserves to win.
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  #28  
Old 12-10-2012, 01:46 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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The big map at this link shows 2012 election results.

Urban areas are dark blue--even in Texas! (The Panhandle towns--Amarillo & Odessa--are dark blue dots.) Here, the 'burbs tend to be dark red, with most of the pale/sparsely populated areas pink. Except along the Border....

(The "cities are better for women" does sound a bit old-fashioned. Unless you're talking about places like Texas, where rural women's clinics are feeling the financial pinch. Partly because of the persecution of Planned Parenthood--& Ricky Perry's hatred of The Feds. Cities offer a few more options.)

Last edited by Bridget Burke; 12-10-2012 at 01:50 PM..
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  #29  
Old 12-10-2012, 02:07 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is online now
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
Actually, it would appear to be. See this "Red States/Blue States" map (based on 2008 election results), shaded from blue through purple to red, and broken down by county. The most urbanized counties are solid blue, the most sparsely-populated rural counties are solid red, and everything between is shades of purple.

There is a clear geographical-ideological division in American politics, and it is not North v. South, nor East v. West, nor Coasts v. Flyover, nor even Red States vs. Blue States -- it is City v. Countryside.
But nobody lives in all those solidly red rural counties (or the solid blue Indian Reservation counties) and there's very few solid blue urban counties. The real story is what's going on in the suburban and mixed counties, and that does vary quite a lot by region and by political trends.

That truly rural people are overwhelmingly conservative and people living in city cores are overwhelmingly liberal is clear, but there simply aren't enough people in either of those categories to come anywhere close to dictating the political landscape on their own. There are more suburban liberals than urban liberals* and FAR more suburban conservatives than rural conservatives. The urban-rural divide is certainly there, but looking at politics entirely in those terms is far too simplistic.

*If you're looking strictly at population density, not necessarily just whether you're in the city limits of a big city.

Last edited by GreasyJack; 12-10-2012 at 02:11 PM..
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  #30  
Old 12-10-2012, 02:10 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
But nobody lives in all those solidly red rural counties (or the solid blue Indian Reservation counties) and there's very few solid blue urban counties. The real story is what's going on in the suburban and mixed counties, and that does vary quite a lot by region and by political trends.

That truly rural people are overwhelmingly conservative and people living in city cores are overwhelmingly liberal is clear, but there simply aren't enough people in either of those categories to come anywhere close to dictating the political landscape on their own. There are more suburban liberals than urban liberals and FAR more suburban conservatives than rural conservatives. The urban-rural divide is certainly there, but looking at politics entirely in those terms is far too simplistic.
It is not simplistic, and it is not exactly a "divide," either, except in the sense of having opposing poles; it is more of a continuum: countryside red, suburbs shades-of-purple, city blue; which certainly is significant -- the more urban you are, the more liberal you are likely to be/vote. Significant, also, in that it identifies the suburbs and exurbs as, everywhere, the battleground.

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 12-10-2012 at 02:13 PM..
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  #31  
Old 12-10-2012, 04:40 PM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
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Originally Posted by Justin_Bailey View Post
When was this written, 1950?
Latter point could still be valid when including things like tertiary education for women and public vs. home schooling for girls.

I'm guessing crime and traffic accidents are higher in urban areas though, so the "basic survival" seems a bit iffy.
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  #32  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:28 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Latter point could still be valid when including things like tertiary education for women and public vs. home schooling for girls.
Women have been graduating college at a higher rate than men for a few years now. As for home schooling, there aren't many good numbers out there, but this US Census study says it's about 50-50.

http://www.census.gov/population/www.../twps0053.html
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  #33  
Old 12-10-2012, 06:56 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Again, the title of the article was :"Worldwide, cities are good for woman". I'm not sure it could be any more clear that the author isn't addressing woman in the US.
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  #34  
Old 12-10-2012, 09:06 PM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
Again, the title of the article was :"Worldwide, cities are good for woman". I'm not sure it could be any more clear that the author isn't addressing woman in the US.
Then that just makes it a particularly bad choice for a thread about the Republican party's reaction to changing demographics.
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  #35  
Old 12-11-2012, 12:54 PM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
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Originally Posted by Justin_Bailey View Post
Women have been graduating college at a higher rate than men for a few years now. As for home schooling, there aren't many good numbers out there, but this US Census study says it's about 50-50.

http://www.census.gov/population/www.../twps0053.html
We'd need to check the raw data to determine whether women were more likely to be home schooled in rural areas, The census data reports rates are higher in "nonmetro" areas than cities and that there's roughly an even distribution of homeschooling for both genders, but it may be the case (however unlikely) that slightly more girls are homeschooled than guys in nonmetro areas compared to a small minority of girls being homeschooled in cities.
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