Where to Draw the Line?

The 2010 Census data came out and the good news, from my perspective, is the population of San Jose is not one million people but instead 945,942. However, I am told there is under-counting as some residents do not want to be counted. Our population growth rate has slowed to 5.7 percent as opposed to 37 percent in the 1970’s. The average people per household city wide is 3.14, however the average number of people per household in District 5 is 4.5.

This census data will be used by the Redistricting Advisory Commission to make suggestions to the City Council on how the council district boundaries should be redrawn. Each Councilmember appointed a district resident to the commission and the Mayor appointed the chair. The goal is to have the Council districts relatively even in population by plus or minus 5 percent. The commission may take major boundaries into consideration like freeways or railroad lines, as well as non-physical boundaries like school attendance areas. The commission is having a public meeting tonight (March 14) at 6:30pm at City Hall to the discuss the data.

The council district populations as of the 2010 Census are as follows:
District 1: 88,645
District 2: 92,314
District 3: 93,896
District 4: 102,976
District 5: 90,863
District 6: 100,236
District 7: 97,868
District 8: 101,108
District 9: 88,853
District 10:  89,183

Council District 1,9 and 10 will expand boundaries to gain population while districts 4,6 and 8 will contract to lose population. For example, District 4 would need to shed an area that contains 3,652 residents while District 1 needs to expand the district to gain 1,219 residents. Whether it is expansion or contraction some residents will get a new councilperson. I have found for some residents this is a big deal and for others it does not matter. Would it matter to you?

The 2010 Census also tracks data on race and uses terms like White and Hispanic. District 9 had the highest White population. While District 4 had the highest Asian population and District 5 the highest Hispanic population. Districts 2 and 6 tied for the highest African American population.

Should the redistricting commission recommend that Council district boundaries are changed to achieve nearly equal distribution by race?

Mayor Reed came out with the Budget Message for the Council on Friday, March 11. If you want to read more than what can be covered by the media follow that link.

The Mayor’s budget message is quite serious in the challenges we face. As we look at the devastation in Japan I believe it is important to not drain our limited financial reserves in case of a natural disaster in San Jose.


  1. Pierluigi Oliverio next time you write an article can you please include a link in order for us to verify the numbers. Also since you are told there is under reporting, is it a certain percent or are we still left to guess?

    • Despite their best efforts, the Census Bureau estimates that the 2000 Census missed 6.4 million people (1). Although this is a relatively small number of people (only 2% of the population), most of those not counted are minorities, children, and low-income people. There are many reasons why people might not get counted in the Census, including: privacy concerns, homelessness, low literacy levels and not enough time to fill out the forms.

      • I chose not to participate as well as most people on my street.  I think 6.4 million is low.  I am not homeless because they knock on your door.  Homeless? I never saw the census people talking to anyone under a bridge.  Low literacy people?  They offer a host of language help.  I think it’s more Fuzzy council math.  Another way of saying “See we don’t need all these city services we dont have enough people”  I think they use the RDA math.  Something the County is good at and the city fails again.

    • You sorta know already which neighborhoods are underreported.  They have all the on street parking packed and yet appear to only be single family dwellings.  IF you pull back the curtains, multiple people are packed into these placed with every room and the garage rented out to folks who pay cash.  If anyone offical comes around, no one is home or speaks English.  The census is supposed to count warm bodies and not worry about citizenship or all the rest, but folks still feel like they should “opt out” to their communities detriment as the census drives a lot of funding formulas.

      As imperfect as it is, I trust the census more than any other device for projected population because it represents a hard count of real people and accumulates its data with due diligence.

  2. Under reporting? Kind of like the mayors, city managers and your under reporting of the city budget and how much money there REALLY is! You mean that same kind of under reporting?

  3. Luigi,
    Since you brought up the budget, when is the city council and mayor going to take another cut? Actually, when are you going to suggest you serve for a stipend like all the other cities around here?

    • Yes, this is another perfect example of playing with statistics to suit one’s agenda. San Jose is also #52 in Household Income of Cities with more than 50,000 residents. ALL, yes ALL of the City’s higher are a fraction the size of San Jose. Wealthy places do not need the same proportion of cops as poorer ones. Duh. Likewise, all new buildings in San Jose have fire sprinklers. Do we use the same formula for adding fire trucks as we did twenty years ago? Duh.

  4. The Commission concept is fine. In reality it is not. The inherent conflicts of interests with members of this Commission virtually insure a tainted outcome.
    Once again, politics is the name of the game in SJ.

  5. PLO-
    How do you feel about the council wanting to issue $100 million in bonds to pay for the expansion of the convention center when our deficit this year is $100 million? I may get flagged for this by Eric, but I have to ask…Are you guys stupid or just that egotistical to think that it is OK to spend more money, when we do not have anymore!?!

  6. The truly good news is that the liberal coastal counties will lose representation in both D.C. and Sacramento.  Simultaneously, the conservative inland counties will gain representation.

    As for San Jose’s Council Districts, I’d suggest it’s time to cut the number from ten to five.  Further, we should return to “at-large” representation; the mini-mayor program that we now have is both wasteful and expensive.  Finally, Council salaries should be reduced by at least 50%.  After all, they are part-time jobs.

  7. If the population is less than what the City though it was, wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that fewer people means less revenue (sales tax)  for the City?

    The City has complained that decreased “revenue” is part of the problem, hasn’t it? How could fewer people be a good thing? Well for one thing the City can say – “See we don’t need as many police and fire fighters as you all say we do.”  The City could lay off and still pretend to deliver services at their self-defined acceptable level.

  8. District 6’s population is 100,236 about 6,0000 over 94.594 average per district while District 3  

    Some would say that some of District 3 does not same higher quality of life in dense high rises, traffic congestion and crowded neighborhoods


    Does that mean Midtown will be added to District 3 which is less than average since downtown boundary is planned to be expanded west to Meridian Ave ?

    Residential developers and contraction unions would want politically want Midtown to be part of adowntown

    – it will be easier for residential developers to build higher and denser since they can disregard traffic congestion, public safety, insufficient parks and other neighborhoods concerns that now slow approval or cost developer more money to fix

    District 3 Council members unlike District 6 have never seen a high rise tower they didn’t like or approve no matter the negative impacts on existing businesses, homes or city service levels from more residential towers without taxes to pay for city staff or services

  9. You guys are accepting this mediocre populaton figure by Census?  Wow, what shattered dream of San Jose, back to smallville.  What a huge undercount or lie by State Department of Finance.  What’s the census population of Downtown San Jose?  Can’t get that figure anywhere.  You can get figures of downtown population of Seattle, Portland, Baltimore, Chicago, San Dieog, Phoenix and just about any other cities but not San Jose.  Now, this begins the downfall of San Jose, a city a shell of former failed revitalization effort.

  10. I’m not too concerned where the lines are drawn in San Jose. Gerrymandering isn’t really an issue when there isn’t any significant diversity of political opinion. Almost everybody in San Jose is a knee-jerk Democrat so it doesn’t really matter where the lines are drawn. Almost no matter how they’re drawn every district will elect a liberal Democrat representative. (No wonder we’ve got budget problems) It’s not as though the majority party here needs to creatively carve out it’s constituency.

    Though in San Jose the native political ecosystem has long since been destroyed, Statewide there ARE still some significant populations of the endangered species, ‘Conservatis responsibilis’. In the interest of diversity, these valuable organisms need our protection. The best way to protect diverse political species is, in my opinion, to completely remove politics from the redistricting process. How do we do that? Well, why not draw district boundaries in accordance with mathematically constructed district maps? The State should simply be divided into X number of districts of equal population such that the total length of all the borders is as small as possible- in other words, ignore all demographic considerations and simply make the districts as compact as possible. That way nobody can complain that politics played any part in the drawing of the map. What could be more fair than that?
    Also, I’m skeptical of the census count in San Jose. Despite the Obama administration’s exhortations reassuring illegal aliens to stand up and be counted by the census so that they can be sure and get their “fair share” of Uncle Sam’s money, we still wound up with a low estimate of our population.
    But hey. Who cares if we’re not American as long as there’s a whole bunch of us. We’re in the Top Ten cities in America! David Letterman might actually mention our name!! Then Tony D. could relax and quit worrying about his stupid trains and his baseball stadiums.

  11. San Jose gained 6% to 945,942 with Hispanics #1 – 33.2% ( up 16% )  , Asians #2 – 32.0% ( up 26% ) and Non Hispanic whites lost now #3 – 28.6% ( down 16%)

    Santa Clara County unemployment is highest in US at 12 + % with construction, real estate way down and more government layoffs soon with California budget problems as businesses, jobs and middle class people continue to leave state reducing property sales and income taxes and jobs

    San Jose middle class working population has not an dwill not recovered for many years because jobs moved out to lower cost states like Texas, Nevada etc

    Very High housing costs from restricting zoning and high government permit costs, excessively high taxes and too much very expensive government killed the California economy and job creation which will not recover 5 + years until after state and local governments are reduced 15-25% Ma71

  12. “Should the redistricting commission recommend that Council district boundaries are changed to achieve nearly equal distribution by race?”

    Hell NO. We should listen to Dr. King when he said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    We’ll never get over race if we don’t get over race.

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