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Numbers denote State Senate district, To find out who represents the district, see the table below.

Your census form will arrive in the mail around March 14 unless, of course, you live in a New York state or a federal prison, where it will be distributed by the warden and collected in a sealed envelope and sent to the Census Bureau in Washington. How that return is counted -- and indeed if it is counted at all -- will have a major impact on power and politics in New York state over the next decade.

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Since the 2000 census, the Census Bureau has estimated massive population shifts that should be confirmed by the results of the 2010 census. The bottom line is all legislative bodies across the country will face massive redistricting challenges.

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In New York, the State Senate will likely move further into Democratic hands, particularly if the Democrats maintain control after the 2010 election. But whoever ends up in charge of redistricting will find it virtually impossible to ignore the fact that the population and power shift from upstate to downstate continues unabated.

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Revised congressional, Senate and Assembly districts must be drawn to accommodate this and other population shifts. They also must take into account the commands of the Voting Rights Act to district in a way that allows of minority voters to exercise influence in the election of representatives. (Redistricting in New York is done by both houses of the legislature as a bill that then must be signed by the governor to take effect. If the legislative process fails, courts can intervene after a suit is filed.)

Finding Everyone

The census will provide the raw material for redistricting. The main clients for the Census Bureau are Congress, the state legislatures and the governors in the United States. A variety of factors will affect the outcome of the census, as well how it is used to divide the state.

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Efforts are underway to count the so-called "hard to count" parts of New York City. Mostly the poor and immigrants reside in such neighborhoods. During the Census 2000, some upscale African American neighborhoods did not participate very well, at least initially. On the other hand, some immigrant areas did better than expected. Apparently, some data may have been falsified by workers struggling to meet what they saw as unrealistic deadlines.

Since substantial efforts are underway in New York City to count the "hard to count," one should expect that the 2010 census will do about as well as did the 2000 census.

People Power

What, then, to expect in terms of the Congress, the Senate and the Assembly for 2012?

The State Assembly is so overwhelmingly Democratic that the chance for major political change based upon population changes seems remote. Nonetheless, many members will find that they will represent significantly changed districts.

As for Congress, an analysis that I did for Real Elections Project shows that New York State is likely to lose at least one congressional seat, and that Louise Slaughter's Rochester area district is very under-populated. Nevertheless, the loss of one seat will require the redrawing of every congressional district so many areas will face major changes.

The real battle, however, will be in the New York State Senate. Last time around, with the Republicans facing the loss of seats in their upstate base, the GOP crafted a plan that it sprung on Democratic legislators and public at the last moment -- after numerous mandated public hearings were over. To avoid having to cut a Republican seat, the plan added a new seat to the Senate and carefully distributed the rest of the population shift to dilute New York City’s power. (By creating an even number of Senate seats, the plan bears some responsibility for the deadlock that paralyzed the Senate last summer.)

If the GOP should regain control of the Senate in time for redistricting, they may try a similar scheme. But such efforts would run into a difficult demographic reality. This decade, as in the last, population generally grew in the city and its environs and declined upstate. The accompanying maps and table, based upon population figures from the 2008 American Community Survey and estimated through 2010, show that almost all of the upstate districts have lost people, while most of the downstate districts, including New York City, the northern suburbs and Long Island gained population.

This means that to if districts are to be of relatively equal size, seats and voting power should shift away from upstate. Redistricting experts measure the departure from the ideal (total population equality) in terms of how much a specific district deviates in size from the average district. Since districts should be as equal as possible, measuring the degree of inequality is expressed as "deviation." Any plan with a total deviation (the difference between the largest positive and negative deviation) greater than 10 percent is legally suspect. Thus, deviations greater than 5 percent positive and negative are cause of serious concern.

Using this yardstick, 17 upstate districts have populations that are more than 5 percent below the ideal size, while 14 downstate and Long Island districts have deviations higher than plus 5 percent. This result is not at all surprising, since during the last redistricting round, the GOP majority did everything possible to pack population downstate and spread it out upstate. The party's stratagems prevented http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/demographics/20020701/5/591 a massive redistricting upstate in 2002, but may not be able to avoid it in 2012.

Prisoners Upstate

Further exacerbating the population trend is the recent announcement that the Census Bureau will make data available so that the prisoners (and other so-called group quarters residents) might be excluded from the totals for state and local redistricting. The bureau will identify where such facilities are and how many people occupy them.

New York counts prisoners as being residents of the place where they are incarcerated -- not the community they came from. Given that most prisons are upstate and many prisoners are from the five boroughs, this inflates the upstate population. Any change in that would have the effect of decreasing the number of people counted for redistricting upstate even further.

Many advocates and a recent court decision, as well as a National Academy of Sciences report, support the idea that prisoners are really not residents of prisons, since they generally do not plan to remain in the surrounding community after they are released. Instead, they should be counted where they were living before they were incarcerated. The census data would only allow states to not count prisoners in prison. It would not solve the problem of where they should be counted. (The impact of just excluding prisoners is estimated in the attached Table, as well.)

State Sen. Eric Schneiderman has introduced legislation that would force the state to count prisoners as residents of their prior homes, using Department of Corrections Data. The bill's fate is uncertain.

In short, New York State faces massive redistricting once the 2010 census is released in the first quarter of 2011. As those downstate work to get their "hard to count" population enumerated, upstate residents and voters can feel even more of their power slipping away. If the State Senate joins the Assembly in being solidly in Democratic hands with stronger downstate representation, it is inevitable that government appropriations will follow this power shift. So, as you complete your census form, remember that the data generated have a tremendous impact on the distribution of, power and money.

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and been in charge of Gotham Gazette's demographics topic page since 2000. The opinions expressed are his alone.

District Senator Party First Elected Residence Estimated Population 2010 Estimated Deviation % Estimated Deviation Population Estimated Change Estimated % Change Estimated Prisoners Estimated Deviation Excluding Prisoners
1 Kenneth LaValle R 1976 Port Jefferson 348,512 32,383 10.24% 305,238 43,274 14.2% 0 10.6%
2 John J. Flanagan R 2002 East Northport 348,742 32,613 10.32% 305,951 42,791 14.0% 0 10.6%
3 Brian X. Foley D 2008 Blue Point 313,863 -2,266 -0.72% 305,989 7,874 2.6% 0 -0.4%
4 Owen H. Johnson R 1972 West Babylon 333,382 17,253 5.46% 305,962 27,420 9.0% 0 5.8%
5 Carl Marcellino R 1995 Syosset 325,865 9,736 3.08% 305,450 20,415 6.7% 0 3.4%
6 Kemp Hannon R 1989 Garden City 316,021 -108 -0.03% 306,033 9,988 3.3% 0 0.3%
7 Craig Johnson D 2007 Port Washington 327,036 10,907 3.45% 305,501 21,535 7.0% 0 3.8%
8 Charles Fuschillo R 1998 Merrick 311,252 -4,877 -1.54% 305,908 5,344 1.7% 0 -1.3%
9 Dean Skelos R 1984 Rockville Centre 316,182 53 0.02% 305,990 10,192 3.3% 0 0.3%
Long Island Total 2,940,856 95,695
10 Shirley Huntley D 2006 Jamaica 339,608 23,479 7.43% 318,481 21,127 6.6% 0 7.7%
11 Frank Padavan R 1972 Bellerose 339,018 22,889 7.24% 318,482 20,536 6.4% 0 7.6%
12 George Onorato D 1983 Astoria 302,555 -13,574 -4.29% 318,484 -15,929 -5.0% 483 -4.2%
13 Vacant (Monserrate) Was D 336,495 20,366 6.44% 318,484 18,011 5.7% 0 6.8%
14 Malcolm Smith D 2000 St. Albans 333,981 17,852 5.65% 318,481 15,500 4.9% 0 6.0%
15 Joseph Addabbo Jr. D 2008 Ozone Park 326,700 10,571 3.34% 318,484 8,216 2.6% 0 3.6%
16 Toby Ann Stavisky D 1999 Flushing 331,878 15,749 4.98% 318,483 13,395 4.2% 0 5.3%
17 Martin Malave Dilan D 2002 Bushwick 329,649 13,520 4.28% 311,260 18,389 5.9% 0 4.6%
18 Velmanette Montgomery D 1984 Brooklyn 349,252 33,123 10.48% 311,260 37,992 12.2% 0 10.8%
19 John Sampson D 1996 Brooklyn 319,165 3,036 0.96% 311,258 7,907 2.5% 0 1.3%
20 Eric Adams D 2006 Brooklyn 316,927 798 0.25% 311,259 5,668 1.8% 0 0.5%
21 Kevin Parker D 2002 Brooklyn 332,960 16,831 5.32% 311,259 21,701 7.0% 0 5.6%
22 Martin Golden R 2002 Bay Ridge 316,595 466 0.15% 311,260 5,335 1.7% 0 0.4%
23 Diane Savino D 2004 Staten Island 326,256 10,127 3.20% 311,259 14,997 4.8% 0 3.5%
24 Andrew Lanza R 2006 Staten Island 347,083 30,954 9.79% 311,258 35,825 11.5% 767 9.9%
25 Dan Squadron D 2008 Brooklyn 335,843 19,714 6.24% 311,258 24,585 7.9% 0 6.5%
26 Liz Krueger D 2002 New York 346,965 30,836 9.75% 311,260 35,705 11.5% 0 10.1%
27 Carl Kruger D 1994 Brooklyn 315,681 -448 -0.14% 311,259 4,422 1.4% 0 0.2%
28 Jose M. Serrano D 2004 Spanish Harlem 328,693 12,564 3.97% 311,261 17,432 5.6% 0 4.3%
29 Thomas Duane D 1998 New York 364,179 48,050 15.20% 311,260 52,919 17.0% 350 15.4%
30 Bill Perkins D 2006 Harlem 325,817 9,688 3.06% 311,263 14,554 4.7% 660 3.2%
31 Eric Schneiderman D 1998 Washington Heights 291,273 -24,856 -7.86% 311,257 -19,984 -6.4% 0 -7.6%
32 Ruben DĂ­az D 2002 Soundview 342,758 26,629 8.42% 311,260 31,498 10.1% 0 8.7%
33 Pedro Espada Jr. D 2008 Bedford Park 316,101 -28 -0.01% 311,258 4,843 1.6% 0 0.3%
34 Jeffrey Klein D 2004 Throgs Neck 325,052 8,923 2.82% 311,251 13,801 4.4% 0 3.1%
35 Andrea Stewart-Cousins D 2006 Yonkers 317,719 1,590 0.50% 311,016 6,703 2.2% 0 0.8%
36 Ruth Hassell-Thompson D 2000 Williamsbridge 324,061 7,932 2.51% 311,259 12,802 4.1% 186 2.8%
37 Suzi Oppenheimer D 1984 Mamaroneck 322,366 6,237 1.97% 310,865 11,501 3.7% 1,811 1.7%
Downstate Total 9,204,631 353,019
38 Thomas Morahan R 1999 Clarkstown 337,005 20,876 6.60% 320,433 16,572 5.2% 590 6.7%
39 Bill Larkin R 1990 New Windsor 326,445 10,316 3.26% 304,986 21,459 7.0% 0 3.6%
40 Vincent Leibell R 1994 Patterson 323,184 7,055 2.23% 299,689 23,495 7.8% 1,054 2.2%
41 Stephen Saland R 1990 Poughkeepsie 306,888 -9,241 -2.92% 298,789 8,099 2.7% 5,298 -4.3%
42 John Bonacic R 1998 Mount Hope 318,665 2,536 0.80% 298,208 20,457 6.9% 4,660 -0.4%
43 Roy McDonald R 2008 Wilton 312,604 -3,525 -1.11% 300,304 12,300 4.1% 0 -0.8%
44 Hugh Farley R 1976 Schenectady 312,531 -3,598 -1.14% 300,641 11,890 4.0% 1,091 -1.2%
45 Betty Little R 2002 Queensbury 298,855 -17,274 -5.46% 295,991 2,864 1.0% 10,391 -8.5%
46 Neil Breslin D 1996 Albany 296,682 -19,447 -6.15% 294,026 2,656 0.9% 0 -5.9%
47 Joseph Griffo R 2006 Rome 283,051 -33,078 -10.46% 290,288 -7,237 -2.5% 2,850 -11.1%
48 Darrel Aubertine D 2008 Cape Vincent 293,423 -22,706 -7.18% 289,932 3,491 1.2% 4,233 -8.3%
49 David Valesky D 2004 Oneida 285,279 -30,850 -9.76% 290,514 -5,235 -1.8% 2,305 -10.2%
50 John DeFrancisco R 1992 Syracuse 289,462 -26,667 -8.44% 291,064 -1,602 -0.6% 0 -8.2%
51 James Seward R 1986 Milford 288,707 -27,422 -8.67% 288,702 5 0.0% 2,486 -9.2%
52 Thomas W. Libous R 1988 Binghamton 282,392 -33,737 -10.67% 290,843 -8,451 -2.9% 205 -10.5%
53 George H. Winner Jr. R 2004 Elmira 289,204 -26,925 -8.52% 292,782 -3,578 -1.2% 2,426 -9.0%
54 Michael Nozzolio R 1992 Fayette 294,361 -21,768 -6.89% 289,191 5,170 1.8% 2,841 -7.5%
55 James Alesi R 1996 East Rochester 324,059 7,930 2.51% 301,947 22,112 7.3% 0 2.8%
56 Joseph Robach R 2002 Greece 277,400 -38,729 -12.25% 301,862 -24,462 -8.1% 81 -12.0%
57 Catharine Young R 2005 Olean 282,090 -34,039 -10.77% 293,587 -11,497 -3.9% 2,962 -11.4%
58 William Stachowski D 1981 Lake View 282,681 -33,448 -10.58% 298,637 -15,956 -5.3% 0 -10.3%
59 Dale Volker R 1975 Depew 288,895 -27,234 -8.61% 292,189 -3,294 -1.1% 7,161 -10.6%
60 Antoine Thompson D 2006 Buffalo 273,986 -42,143 -13.33% 298,636 -24,650 -8.3% 0 -13.1%
61 Michael Ranzenhofer R 2008 Clarence 295,493 -20,636 -6.53% 298,490 -2,997 -1.0% 0 -6.3%
62 George Maziarz R 1995 Newfane 291,182 -24,947 -7.89% 301,784 -10,602 -3.5% 2,281 -8.3%
Upstate Total 7,454,525 -448,700

Andrew A. Beveridge has taught sociology at Queens College since 1981, done demographic analyses for the New York Times since 1993, and been in charge of Gotham Gazette's demographics topic page since 2000. The opinions expressed are his alone.




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