Redistricting the General Assembly: The last decade's big gainers and losers

February 16, 2011

As Illinois lawmakers gather Wednesday in Springfield to hear Gov. Pat Quinn's budget address, reporters (and no doubt party leadership staff) continue to comb through the Census data that will guide the rough-and-tumble redistricting process this year.

The data came out Tuesday, and the population counts for state legislative districts are all over the place.

We've put together the five state representative and senate districts that are the most populated, and the five that are the least. Here's why this matters: at the end of the redistricting process, each district will need to be "substantially equal in population" to the others in its chamber, according to the Illinois Constitution.

So a state senator holding a seat in a heavily populated district will lose a big chunk of his or her constituents. Conversly, a senator hanging out in one of the population-starved districts will need to pick up new real estate. Note that the big-gaining districts are all in suburban and exurban areas - and mostly represented by Republicans, while the big-losing districts are all in Chicago, held by Democrats.

Five Most Populated Illinois House Districts, per Census 2010

Top gainersIncumbentDistrict office2010 population
State House District 84Tom Cross (R)Plainfield202008
State House District 50Kay Hatcher (R)Yorkville178899
State House District 49Timothy Schmitz (R)Geneva154080
State House District 81Renée Kosel (R)Monee142036
State House District 85Emily McAsey (D)Romeoville139496

Five Least Populated Illinois House Districts, per Census 2010

Top losersIncumbentDistrict office2010 population
State House District 6Esther Golar (D)Chicago86931
State House District 25Barbara Flynn Currie (D)Chicago91147
State House District 2Edward Acevado (D)Chicago91849
State House District 4Cynthia Soto (D)Chicago92536
State House District 40Deborah Mell (D)Chicago92752

Five Most Populated Illinois Senate Districts, per Census 2010

Top gainersIncumbentDistrict office2010 population
State Senate District 42Linda Holmes (D)Plainfield337625
State Senate District 25Chris Lauzen (R)Aurora332979
State Senate District 32Pamela Althoff (R)Crystal Lake254707
State Senate District 43A.J. Wilhelmi (D)Crest Hill252892
State Senate District 41Christine Radogno (R)Lemont250942

Five Least Populated Illinois Senate Districts, per Census 2010

Top losersIncumbentDistrict office2010 population
State Senate District 20Iris Martinez (D)Chicago187878
State Senate District 7Heather Steans (D)Chicago188147
State Senate District 17Donne Trotter (D)Chicago189200
State Senate District 3Mattie Hunter (D)Chicago189367
State Senate District 14Emil Jones III (D)Chicago190871

There are tons more data to share, but we're still working through it. Thanks to the good folks at Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) for their help breaking down these numbers.

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