The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Lily Martin
Staff writer 

New Mexico's redistricting could continue until December


Last updated 1/30/2021 at 2:43pm

Preliminary data from the 2020 Census indicates that redistricting in New Mexico might not conclude until December, compared to September when the decennial process wrapped up in 2011.

The Census data used for redistricting is usually delivered to the president at the close of the year. However, due to various delays largely related to the COVID-19 pandemic, that information will not be delivered until March at the earliest.

As a consequence population redistricting data would not be delivered to the state until April, and a timeline by the New Mexico Legislative Council suggests that a possible extension could delay it until late July. In comparison, the data from the last census was delivered to the state on March 14, 2011.

Once delivered the state would have to analyze the data and create preliminary plans for its use in redistricting. In 2011 that spanned from March to June, but the Legislative Council estimates that this year’s timeframe will fall between April and November.

The Redistricting Committee would then hold public meetings covering the preliminary plans, which could be anywhere between June and November. In 2011, that process ended in August.

Following the public meetings, a special session takes place for discussion and voting on new districts for both Congress and the New Mexico Legislature.

“Ideal district population” as described by the Legislative Council in their redistricting principles packet is the total state population divided equally among the congressional districts. Based on Census Bureau estimates, New Mexico’s 2020 population stands at 2,106,319, meaning 702,106 is the ideal population for each district.

However, districts can be “substantially equal,” meaning each district deviates no more than 5% from the ideal population and no district deviates more than 10% from any other district.

The same standards apply to the state House and Senate districts. Based on the 2020 estimates, House districts would range between 28,586 and 31,594, with an ideal population of 30,090. The 42 districts of the Senate would range between 47,643 to 52,657 with an ideal population of 50,150.

The 2010 Census counted 2,059,179 as New Mexico's total population. The estimated population for 2020 shows an 2.3% increase of 47,140 individuals. This increase would account for an additional 15,713 population change for each Congressional district, a 1,122 change for each State Senate district, and a 673 change for each State House district.

Other data provided by the Legislative Council in regards to the estimated 2020 Census numbers show that New Mexico's population increase is significantly less dramatic than previous census years.

Between 1990 and 2000 the state saw a 20.1% increase in population, from 2000 to 2010 the state saw a 13.2% increase, and from 2010 to 2020 the population increase is just 2.3%.

Curry County is one of only 10 counties in the state estimated to have a positive population change from the last census count, going from 48,376 to 48,954 for a 1.2% increase.

In that same time, Roosevelt County has an estimate 6.8% decrease from 19,846 to 18,500.


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