by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, JLF’s Brooke Conrad reported on the changing demographics in North Carolina and how this could affect future elections. Conrad reports:
From 2010 to 2018, the state’s overall population increased by a little over 848,000 residents, now totaling more than 10 million people, according to U.S. Census Bureau data and estimates… The big takeaway is that North Carolinians are trending toward urban and suburban areas and away from rural ones, said David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College.
This shift towards the suburbs could be significant for elections in the future. Conrad explains:
Suburban areas have actually grown faster than central cities like Raleigh or Charlotte, McLennan said. Suburban residents also tend to have weaker party affiliations when compared with those from urban areas who typically favor Democrats and rural areas who favor Republicans.
…Party affiliation in the suburbs is much more competitive, [Michael Bitzer, professor of politics and history at Catawba College] shows. In suburban areas outside central cities but inside urban counties, 32% of registered voters are Democrats, 33% are Republicans, and 34% are unaffiliated. In suburban counties adjacent to urban counties, 27% identify as Democrats, 39% as Republicans, and 33% as unaffiliated voters.
North Carolinians won’t know for sure how population growth has panned out or how it will affect elections until after the U.S. 2020 census is complete.