Readers of this column are likely to know the name of their representative in Congress. However, even these involved citizens are not likely to know the number of their congressional district.
And why should we know that number? It keeps changing for most of us as Indiana loses seats in Congress because our population growth lags the national rate of growth. Now we are down to nine representatives with the boundaries changing as the legislative party in power mangles district borders to maintain its political supremacy.
Thus, it is difficult to write a column about those districts without this necessarily incomplete introduction: District 1 Peter Viscloskey (D), northwest Indiana. Dist. 2 Jackie Walorski (R), South Bend to Peru. Dist. 3 Marlin Stutzman (R), Fort Wayne, northeast Indiana. Dist. 4 Todd Rokita (R), Lafayette, western Indy suburbs. Dist. 5 Susan Brooks (R), Carmel to Marion. Dist. 6 Luke Messer (R), east central Indiana. Dist. 7 Andre Carson (D), most of Indy. Dist. 8 Larry Bucshon (R), Terre Haute to Evansville. Dist. 9 Todd Young (R), Bloomington south to the Ohio River.
The latest data on these districts come from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2012. Those data show the districts are fairly even in population size (as they are mandated to be), but do vary in many characteristics. Dist. 6 has a median age approaching 40 while Dist. 7’s median age tends toward 33. Dist. 8 has 16,200 persons 85 and older while Dist. 7 has but 8,500 in that age group.
Dist. 6, 8 and 9 have more than 92 percent of their population identified as white, while Dist. 7 stands at 60 percent. In Dist. 1, 14 percent of the people identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino. This figure falls to 2 percent in Dist. 6 and 8.
Dist. 8 has more than three-quarters of its population living in their state of birth. Statewide that number is 68 percent, meaning that more than two-third of all Hoosiers might have been born with a basketball in hand. Certainly, we cannot claim to be a great melting pot.