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Bureau County and Illinois’ new 16th District

Published: Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 2:44 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 2:53 p.m. CST

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On Jan. 2, Bureau County voters, previously divided among the 11th, 14th and 18th Illinois Congressional districts, were suddenly included in the state’s new 16th District. The move was part of the redistricting that takes place every 10 years, following the Decennial Census. As the nation’s population grows and moves, redistricting attempts to keep each district as close in size as possible.

Because the Census showed Illinois had grown at a slower rate than some other states, it lost one member in the House of Representatives, and movement to the Chicago area resulted in geographically-larger downstate districts.

The new 16th District forms an L-shape around Chicago and the collar counties, sweeping up to the Wisconsin border north of Rockford, dropping south and reaching as far to the west as Bureau County, then continuing east to the Indiana border, just north of Champaign.

A report issued by the Census Bureau Wednesday showed detailed demographic data of the new Congressional districts.

Bureau County’s 34,606 residents make up only a fraction of the 16th District’s 713,840 residents. How similar are local residents to the residents in the entire district now served by Rep. Adam Kinzinger?

Bureau County has a lower percentage of young children than the rest of the district, but not by much. About 5.5 percent of the county’s residents are under 5, compared to 5.8 percent of the 16th District.

Not surprisingly, Bureau County also has more older people with 18.4 percent of the county’s residents 65 and over. That percentage in the District is 14.7 percent.

And Bureau County’s residents are more overwhelmingly white. In the county, 96.8 of all residents are white, compared to 91.2 percent overall in the 16th District. The black population in Bureau County is 0.8 percent, compared to 4.2 percent districtwide. There is also a lower Hispanic population in Bureau County with 7.9 percent, compared to a district percentage of 8.7 percent.

Bureau County residents also have a lower income than the district as a whole. The median household income in Bureau County is $48,046, compared to $52,101 districtwide.

When it comes to education, 88.5 percent of Bureau County’s residents 25 and older have a high school diploma, compared to 89.2 percent of district residents.

When it comes to having earned a bachelor’s degree, 16.3 percent of Bureau County’s residents have a degree, while 19.8 percent of residents districtwide have earned their degree.

Another area in which Bureau County exceeds the district average is having served in the military. Bureau County has an estimated 3,017 veterans, or 11.3 percent of the population 18 or older. That percentage is 9.5 percent for the entire 16th District.

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