Population shift causes need for redrawn county council district lines

February 27, 2012 12:42 pm

Share with others:

Population growth in the North Hills has created a "waterfall effect" that is likely to bring major changes in several downstream Allegheny County council districts, Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko said.

Ms. Danko, D-Regent Square, chairs a special committee on reapportionment that will meet this week to consider two plans to redraw 13 council districts. Two other members of council are elected at large by all county voters.

Final approval of the boundaries for new legislative districts must come from the full council, which has to act by March 9.

Redistricting to create areas of approximately equal population is required every 10 years, following the release of new U.S. Census data. The districts are not to break up municipalities, with the exception of Pittsburgh, and all communities within each district are to be contiguous.

Each council district is to have about 94,000 people. That means that Pittsburgh, with a 2010 population of approximately 306,000, has to be split into four districts, some of which also will include suburban communities.

Population shifts over the past decade and an overall drop in the number of people living in the county both are factors that will influence changes in district lines. Allegheny County's population dipped 4.6 percent between 2000 and 2010, to 1.22 million. Pittsburgh lost a higher proportion of its residents. Its population shrank 8.6 percent from 335,000 in 2000 to 306,000 in 2010.

But council's District 2, which takes in a dozen municipalities on the northwest corner of the county, saw its population grow by almost 11,000. That district is represented by Councilwoman Jan Rea, R-McCandless.

A map proposed by Ms. Danko would add Sewickley and several smaller communities and drop West Deer and Hampton from District 2 to bring its population close to the target of 94,000.

Hampton and West Deer would be added to a redrawn District 3, which would lose communities in the northeast corner of the county to District 7. District 3 is represented by Jim Burn, D-Millvale, and District 7 is represented by Nick Futules, D-Oakmont.

Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159.
First Published 2012-02-26 23:18:25

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
PG Products