The Census Bureau unveiled detailed demographic profiles of Kansas and Wyoming today, and like other states that historically were overwhelmingly white, both of these saw huge growth in their Hispanic populations.
-- Kansas' population grew by 6 percent in the last decade and it retained its four congressional seats. The state, like many other agricultural Midwestern and plains states, saw a shift from the rural areas to the small towns and a Hispanic boom: Latinos jumped from 7 percent to 10.5 percent of the state's population in the last decade, and make up large parts of the population in the meatpacking-heavy small towns in the east of the state, including majorities in Liberal and Dodge City. The state's biggest growth was in its small cities: the part of Kansas City not in Missouri lost population, as did nearly all of the rural counties.
Republicans are in control of redistricting here, as they were a decade ago, and hold all four House seats after Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder won the seat vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore. The district, based around suburban Kansas City and stretching to include the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, is politically marginal, breaking narrowly for President Obama in 2008.
Republicans may look to shore up Yoder. But last time they redistricted, Lawrence civic leaders fought to keep the university in the same district as their hospital, which is located in Kansas City. The district will need to lose population, so the major question becomes whether legislators will move Lawrence to Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins' district or leave it intact.
-- Wyoming's population grew by 14 percent since 2000 but it still remains sparsely populated, with one congressional district. The Hispanic population boomed here as well, accounting for a quarter of the state's growth, and almost 9 percent of the state is now Latino. The state's fastest growth came in Gillette, which grew by almost 50 percent as the oil, gas and minerals industry boomed, but no towns populations surpassed 60,000 people. The state remains overwhelmingly Republican; only Oklahoma supported Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign by a wider margin.
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