Local Politics

Study: Wake, Durham, Johnston to gain legislative seats

Posted October 13, 2009 12:36 p.m. EDT

— The Triangle's population boom could translate into more political power after next year, according to a statewide analysis by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

UNC's Program on Public Life used Census Bureau population projections to determine the possible breakdown of House and Senate seats following the 2010 session. Lawmakers will use data from next year's census to redraw the boundaries of legislative districts in 2011.

"Through this decade, the metropolitanization of North Carolina intensified. As a result, the prospect is for Wake and Mecklenburg counties, as well as for neighboring counties in their regions, to gain additional seats in the state House and Senate," the report states.

Wake County, which grew by 50 percent over the last decade, stands to gain one Senate seat and at least two House seats, according to the report. Durham and Johnston counties should each pick up a Senate seat, while Cumberland County could gain a Senate seat but lose a House seat.

After the 2000 Census, the state’s 50 Senate districts had an ideal population of about 161,000, and the 120 House districts were drawn to have about 67,000 people each. In 2010, Senate districts will grow to encompass a population of more than 191,000 and House districts of nearly 80,000.

"In the process of redistricting, legislators will inevitably consider the interests of incumbents and of their political parties, but they also must adhere to the rules embedded in laws and court cases," the report states.