The population of Kentucky increased more than seven percent over the past decade, and talk of redistricting has already begun.
Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show a major population decline in rural parts of Kentucky that will likely change the makeup of the state’s congressional seats, but 3rd District Representative John Yarmuth believes his seat won’t be affected.
“I as well as many others I think would like to see Jefferson County remain totally in one congressional district. The numbers would indicate that that’s possible. The legislature has the ultimate authority over that, but it’s clear there are going to have to be some major changes when come districts are going to have to pick up 30 or 40 thousand people and others lose that many,” he says.
The census numbers show the fastest-growing areas are Louisville, Lexington and northern Kentucky—the so-called Golden Triangle—where job seekers are migrating away from western and eastern parts of the commonwealth.
The figures for Jefferson County show a climb since 2000 that outpaces the county’s four percent growth in the 1990s.
Yarmuth says the increase is mainly due to people leaving rural areas searching for better opportunities and in large part to a surge among minorities.
“This is part of a national trend you’re seeing. White population as a percentage of the country is not growing. In many areas it’s declining and Hispanic and African-American and Asian populations are all growing. I don’t think we’re seeing anything different in Kentucky than we’re seeing in a lot places. But it’s pretty dramatic, particularly in Louisville,” he says.
According to the data, the state’s Hispanic population grew by 122 percent, the Asian total almost 65 percent and African-Americans rose by 13 percent, remaining Kentucky’s largest minority population at 333,075.
Overall, the commonwealth’s population climbed by seven percent to 4.4 million.