Evanston aldermen are scheduled to get a report this evening on how the population of the city’s wards shifted from 2000 to 2010 and to decide whether to redraw ward boundaries as a result of the changes.

A report prepared by city staff based on U.S. Census data shows an increase in the variation in population of the city’s wards since the boundaries were last redrawn after the 2000 census.

But the staff reports claims that the shifts are not dramatic enough to legally require redistricting.

The population variation from ward to ward was no more than 5 percent in the boundaries set after the 2000 census and averaged just over 3 percent.

Now, the variations are as great as 8 percent and average more than 4 percent.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued conflicting guidance on how much variation is legally permissible under constitutional “one person, one vote” standards — ruling in one case involving state legislative districts that a variation of just under 10 percent was acceptable, but rejecting the same amount of variation in another case.

In Evanston, the greatest population drop has been in the 9th ward, which now has 8 percent fewer people than the city average, followed by the 5th ward which has 6 percent less.

The wards showing the greatest population gains are the 6th ward, which now has 8 percent more people than the city-wide average, followed by the 3rd ward with nearly 6 percent more.

If the city’s wards had the same number of residents, they’d each contain 8,276 people based on the 2010 census, up from 8,249 after the 2000 census.

Related document

Ward map with 2000 and 2010 population numbers

PowerPoint presentation of population data

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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