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

Redistricting the General Assembly: The last decade’s big gainers and losers
Illinois State Senate Chambers Getty/File
Redistricting the General Assembly: The last decade’s big gainers and losers
Illinois State Senate Chambers Getty/File

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

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 gainers Incumbent District office 2010 population
State House District 84 Tom Cross (R) Plainfield 202008
State House District 50 Kay Hatcher (R) Yorkville 178899
State House District 49 Timothy Schmitz (R) Geneva 154080
State House District 81 Renée Kosel (R) Monee 142036
State House District 85 Emily McAsey (D) Romeoville 139496

Five Least Populated Illinois House Districts, per Census 2010

Top losers Incumbent District office 2010 population
State House District 6 Esther Golar (D) Chicago 86931
State House District 25 Barbara Flynn Currie (D) Chicago 91147
State House District 2 Edward Acevado (D) Chicago 91849
State House District 4 Cynthia Soto (D) Chicago 92536
State House District 40 Deborah Mell (D) Chicago 92752

Five Most Populated Illinois Senate Districts, per Census 2010

Top gainers Incumbent District office 2010 population
State Senate District 42 Linda Holmes (D) Plainfield 337625
State Senate District 25 Chris Lauzen (R) Aurora 332979
State Senate District 32 Pamela Althoff (R) Crystal Lake 254707
State Senate District 43 A.J. Wilhelmi (D) Crest Hill 252892
State Senate District 41 Christine Radogno (R) Lemont 250942

Five Least Populated Illinois Senate Districts, per Census 2010

Top losers Incumbent District office 2010 population
State Senate District 20 Iris Martinez (D) Chicago 187878
State Senate District 7 Heather Steans (D) Chicago 188147
State Senate District 17 Donne Trotter (D) Chicago 189200
State Senate District 3 Mattie Hunter (D) Chicago 189367
State Senate District 14 Emil Jones III (D) Chicago 190871

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.