The number of African Americans in Los Angeles grew by 2.9% according to the 2020 Census, which nearly mirrors the city’s 2.8% population increase over the last 10 years for a current total of 3,898,747 people in L.A.
The statistics were disclosed at a special meeting of the L.A. City Council Redistricting Commission on August 19. The commission is charged with using census data to recommend a redistricting plan that outlines the boundaries of council districts (CDs) and each area should be largely equal in population.
“This census data, together with other sources such as the American Community Survey (ACS) and the community of interest public testimony we’ve received and will receive in the future, will help inform the commission in drawing council district maps in an inclusive and transparent way for the City of Los Angeles,” said Fred Ali, chair of the Redistricting Commission.
“The mission of the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission is to make sure that all community members have fair and equal representation on the Los Angeles City Council,” he added.
To assist the 21 board members in fulfilling their duties, Commission Executive Director Frank Cardenas, City Demographer David Ely and Paul Mitchell of Redistricting Partners presented key findings and results from the census.
Their report noted that the majority of L.A.’s African Americans reside in four districts – CD 8 totaled 84,644 Blacks, which is 33% of the total population of 255,573 people. CD 9 summed up 32,397 Blacks, 12.7% of the district’s 254,230 inhabitants. CD 10 tallied 51,490 African Americans, 20% of the area’s 255,950. CD 15 counted 30,307 African Americans, which is 11.7% of 258,320 residents.
The census category CVAP, Citizen Voting Age Population, cited a decrease in Black residents in 11 of the city’s 15 council districts and significant reductions in CDs 8, 9 and 10. For CDs 8, the number of African American voters equated to 75,713, which is 52.4% of the council district’s total CVAP of 144,534, CD 9 – 25,687, 24.7% of 104,088 people and CD 10 – 48,916, which is 33.3% of 146,734 total CVAP.
Populations determined by neighborhood council (NC) boundaries were also shared. Among the NCs logging the greatest increases in people were Chesterfield Square (CD 8), which grew from 6,388 to 7, 131 for a 12% surge and Broadway-Manchester (CD 9), which jumped from 26,768 to 29,359 for a 10% rise. The NC list of greatest decreases included Arlington Heights (CD 10) from 21,483 to 20,188 for a 6% decline and West Adams (CD 10) from 22,925 to 21,737 for a 5% fall.
“Neighborhoods based on state law are the real building blocks of [council] districts. The real idea of redistricting is bringing communities together instead of dividing them in terms of representation and voting power,” said Mitchell, who noted that his staff will provide information on “how many neighborhoods are kept whole, how many are split and whether it’s split multiple times” during the process of proposing new district boundaries.
Also, the census data will be updated to incorporate 90,000 people in the prison population, whose numbers will be added to the neighborhoods where they were living before incarceration.
The L.A. City Council Redistricting Commission will hold a series of public meetings to solicit input from residents about resources, desires, histories and experiences that impact and define their neighborhoods. The board includes Charisse Bremond-Weaver, the Rev. Eddie Anderson and Valerie Lynne Shaw, who have mounted a campaign to persuade Blacks to participate in the process to help ensure inclusive representation, secure needed assets, and maintain a strong community.
The next public hearing is set for Saturday, August 28, at 10 a.m. where the commission will hear testimony focused on Council District 10. To attend via Zoom, visit https://bit.ly/LACCRCZoom or https://zoom.us/join; Meeting ID No. 161 545 4787.
The public can also listen and participate in the meeting by calling (669) 254-5252 or toll free at (833) 568-8864. Use Meeting ID No. 161 545 4787, press #, and press # again when prompted for participant ID.
For more information on the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission, visit https://laccrc2021.org/