A Proposal to Redistrict California: the Inland Empire

This is part of a proposal outlining one possible way to redistrict California.

This post will concentrate on the Inland Empire.


The Inland Empire is a complex region and fairly difficult to redistrict. In one way it can considered described as the “exurbs” of Los Angeles. Yet the Inland Empire is also it’s own independent region, with populous cities that have exurbs of their own. The main cities are, respectively San Bernardino and Riverside.

San Bernardino and Riverside

CA-26 (Gray):

Population – 30.1% white, 5.7% black, 52.6% Hispanic, 9.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 2.1% other

Over-18 Population – 34.2% White, 47.7% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District; New Majority-Hispanic

This district, taking in part of Los Angeles County, is composed of suburbs that flow seamlessly from the Los Angeles area into the Inland Empire. Some of these, such as Pomona, are quite poor; others, such as Upland, are fairly well-off. The district also happens to be Hispanic-majority (somewhat unintentionally), although the white population is still high enough for whites to compose a majority of the actual electorate.

CA-42 (Lawn Green):

Population – 26.3% white, 9.4% black, 55.5% Hispanic, 6.2% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.3% other

Over-18 Population – 31.0% White, 49.8% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District; New Majority-Hispanic

Unlike the previous district, this district is intentionally as Hispanic as reasonably possible. It centers around the city of Riverside and Moreno Valley. In general, a 2:1 ratio of Hispanics to whites or blacks is necessary for Hispanic control. This district barely meets the cut, although with better data it can be drawn to be more Hispanic.

CA-43 (Magenta):

Population – 16.9% white, 10.6% black, 63.9% Hispanic, 6.4% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.8% other

Over-18 Population – 20.4% White, 59.4% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District; Majority-Hispanic

Strongly Hispanic, this district is basically the city of San Bernardino, with a few suburbs to its west.

CA-44 (Medium Violet Red):

Population – 46.4% white, 5.1% black, 37.8% Hispanic, 7.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 2.6% other

Over-18 Population – 51.2% white, 33.2% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District; New Majority-Minority

CA-44 picks up the inner suburban communities around Riverside and parts of San Bernardino. Its odd shape is due to CA-42, which avoids the whiter areas of Riverside to become as Hispanic as possible. Those areas have to go somewhere, however; they end up forming the basis of this congressional district.

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Other Inland Empire Districts

There are three other districts in the Inland Empire, which take up the most “exurban” parts of the region.

CA-41 (Light Steel Blue):

Population – 35.5% white, 12.1% black, 45.9% Hispanic, 3.3% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 2.7% other

Over-18 Population – 41.1% white, 40.8% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District; New Majority-Minority

Palmdale and the northern exurbs of San Bernardino belong to this congressional district. The communities do not have much in common, however. The reason why they are forced together is because of decisions made far-away in Central Valley and the Central Coast. The district is also, surprisingly, plurality-Hispanic – a surprise to at least this blogger, who thought it was majority-white all the way until said blogger started writing these words.

CA-45 (Turquoise):

Population – 35.5% white, 3.0% black, 57.0% Hispanic, 2.5% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 1.3% other

Over-18 Population – 42.3% white, 50.0% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District; New Hispanic-Majority

CA-45 takes in the most exurban reaches of Riverside County, separated by the San Jacinto Mountains from the rest of the county’s population. It also takes in Imperial Valley, whose connections to the Salton Sea and agriculture link it most closely with Coachella and Palm Desert in Riverside County, rather than San Diego County. Credit to the Imperial Valley idea goes to the users of swingstateproject.

Interestingly, and entirely accidentally, the addition of Imperial County creates a strong Hispanic majority in CA-45. While probably not enough to form a Hispanic majority in the electorate, Hispanics definitely will have a strong voice in this district.

CA-49 (Indian Red):

Population – 53.4% white, 4.3% black, 31.7% Hispanic, 6.5% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 3.3% other

There are two communities joined together by CA-49, the only white-majority district in the Inland Empire. These are the southernmost exurbs of Riverside and the northernmost suburbs of the San Diego area. While these are not communities of interest, in terms of economics, demographics, growth rates, and political beliefs they have a lot in common.

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Final Thoughts

The ugliest district here, by far, is the sickle-shaped CA-44. This is yet another example of VRA districts conflicting with compactness; CA-44’s odd shape is mostly due to the creation of a strongly Hispanic-district which it surrounds. In addition, CA-41 would drop Palmdale and add more San Bernardino exurbs in a perfect world.

Another surprise is the extent of minority – especially Hispanic – growth in this region. In the 2000 gerrymander all but one of these districts were majority-white. In this proposal four districts are majority-Hispanic, one is plurality-Hispanic, one is plurality-white, and only one is majority-white. It’s quite a change.

The next post will take a look at San Diego County, part of the overall Southern California area:

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One Response to A Proposal to Redistrict California: the Inland Empire

  1. Ed says:

    I just did this myself, and I was also surprised by the growth of the Hispanic population in the region. Riverside County is now 45% Hispanic. Without really trying, its easy to get quite a few districts that have a majority Hispanic population and a plurality (40% to 45%) Hispanic adult population, though you have to racially gerrymander if you want to get lots of districts where a majority of the voters are Hispanic.

    Still, its possible to get a fairly strong Hispanic district comprising essentially the cities of Anaheim and Santa Ana, and weaker districts with bare or almost Hispanic majorities among the adults in southwestern San Bernardino county and in northwestern Riverside county, all fairly compact and respecting city and county lines.

    I disagree that this area is particularly difficult to redistrict. You don’t seem to have noticed that the population of Riverside County almost perfectly matches that needed for three Congressional districts (one town has to be put in district centered somewhere else). To do this, you have to put Imperial County with a San Diego County based district, as the current and past maps do, and work around Riverside County.

    San Diego County, Orange County, and Imperial County combine for nine congressional districts with a little territory left over. Orange County breaks pretty perfectly into the Anaheim-Santa Ana district I mentioned above, one district comprising the coastal towns, one inland district based on Irvine and Orange, and a second district wedged between Anaheim and Los Angeles County, based on Garden Grove and Fullerton. The decision to combine Fullerton and Long Beach is the weirdest decision of the commission.

    Using the 2002 numbering scheme, and not the scrambling of the commission, that translates into CA 39, CA 46, CA 47, CA 48, and part coastal San Diego County based CA 49 in Orange County, and CA 43, CA 44, and CA 45 in Riverside County.

    However, it seems to be impossible to avoid an ugly district snaking around the eastern border of Los Angeles county (CA 38). And while you get a reasonably compact district based on Ontario and Rancho Cuchumonga (sp?) (CA 40) and another based on San Bernardino itself and the communities to the east (CA 42), the sparely populated desert part of the county have to be tacked onto districts based elsewhere to get them up to population. I had a district combining the desert portion of Los Angeles County with similar areas of San Bernardino County (CA 25), and another starting in the northern portion of San Bernardino County but including part of Kern County, and moving up the Owens Valley towards Lake Tahoe (CA 41).

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