It Isn’t One Citizen One Vote

When it comes to the House of Representatives, I’m a Constitutional scholar.  Specifically Article 1, Section 2 – “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

The lines highlighted in yellow govern the decennial Census and apportionment of Congresscritters.  Congresscritters are apportioned according to population – not according to the number of citizens a state has.  As you look at the data, you can see that one out of each seven people represented by a California Congresscritter isn’t a US Citizen. 

If Congress were to pass a law requiring seats in the House of Representatives be apportioned based on citizens instead of population, California would probably lose 5 seats, New York and Florida each 2, and New Jersey  and Illinois 1 each.  Somehow, I don’t think it will happen.

State demographics by citizenship status|
Citizenship status of residents, 2014

 State Total Population NativeForeign-born
District of Columbia633,736545,11088,62634,48354,143
New Hampshire1,321,0691,247,65773,41238,52934,883
New Jersey8,874,3746,969,9691,904,405989,166915,239
New Mexico2,080,0851,874,204205,88170,926134,955
New York19,594,33015,218,3854,375,9452,317,7872,058,158
North Carolina9,750,4059,009,170741,235240,268500,967
North Dakota704,925684,37020,5557,48413,071
Rhode Island1,053,252915,234138,01870,04967,969
South Carolina4,727,2734,500,820226,45381,502144,951
South Dakota834,708810,30824,4009,09615,304
West Virginia1,853,8811,826,34127,54012,96914,571
Source: United States Census Bureau, “Selected Characteristics of the Native and Foreign-Born Populations”
A Science for Everyone, Community, Demography

Our Communities by ACS Numbers

I listened to a comment about the median household income in Trego – and defaulted to my professional statement before retirement – “That’s American Community Survey data, and it’s not very good for small communities.”  When I checked it, the $36,458 median household income for Trego translates as “somewhere between $27,478 and $45,438.  ACS data has its uses, but it has to be used with a lot of caution.

So here’s a little ACS data on our communities – you can check for margin of error (MOE) here.   I wouldn’t recommend using any of the numbers without reviewing MOE – but just sharing the data shows the variance.  It’s safe to admit that my household was one selected for the ACS. With two retirees at home, I didn’t hurt Trego’s school enrollment rate, I raised the percentage of bachelors degree or above, kept the employment rate down, and raised the median age.

Trego CDPFortine CDPEureka CCDRexford Town
Median Age60.527.950.153.3
Median Household Income$36,458$68,036$40,827$30,481
Bachelor’s Degree or more26.10%19.20%22.40%0.00%
School Enrollment97.80%72.30%81.90%100%
Employment Rate40.20%59.50%38.30%20.60%
Housing Units2831773,71673
Occupied Housing Units2371442,79646
Children under 189.30%32.50%22.10%13%

It looks like the Fortine sample drew some younger respondents.  Eureka CCD with a larger population and larger sample is probably closer to correct, and the town of Rexford data is probably close to useless because the small sample size almost guarantees sampling bias

Community, Demography

4% Growth for County 57

The 2020 Census numbers have been released, and we’re looking at data we can begin to use.  I’m hoping to get the data at a school district level later on – but for now, we have county level data, CCD level data, and Census tract level data.

First – Lincoln County’s population dropped by a tenth of a percent.  Second, the population in the Libby CCD dropped by 1.2% (now 9,772), population in the Troy CCD dropped by 3.9% now 3,435), and population in the Eureka CCD increased by 4.0% (now 6,470).   North County is now officially 89 residents less than a third of the county’s population.  3,435 of the people represented by the Troy Commissioner reside in the Troy CCD, while 3,124 reside in the Libby CCD.  This is a trend worth watching.

Housing data is available at the county level – and it may give us some insight on rentals in the area.  Housing units in Lincoln County decreased by 4.0% – occupied housing units increased by 0.5%, and unoccupied housing units decreased by 19.6%. 

In County 57 – the Eureka CCD – housing unit numbers are:

 2020 #2020 %2010 #2010 %Change
Total Housing Units3,716 3,771 -1.5%

All these statistics are in comparison with the 2010 Census. 

It’s going to be fun as future releases will show even more usable data.

A Science for Everyone, Community, Demography

Measuring Migration

When you work with Census data, migration numbers can be very precise – but the 10 years between each Census often make the data obsolete.  As demographers, we had to find ways to work around that – and U-Haul had the websites that let me better understand and explain migration.

For example, if I price renting a 15’ truck in Bakersfield, California, heading to Eureka, Montana, I get a price quote of $5,173 today.  On the other hand, it costs $1,109 to rent the same truck in Eureka and drive it to Bakersfield.

If I want to see beautiful Bend, Oregon in the rear view mirror of my 15’ rental truck, the website tells me the trip to Eureka, MT is $3,052.  Renting the same truck in Eureka, to go to Bend is only $654.

I didn’t learn to abuse U-Haul’s website in a classroom – I got the general idea while riding a bus seated alongside a very successful retarded guy.  He made a living riding the bus – back then there was a pass that was good for six months travel in country – and then driving a car or small truck back to Denver.  He may not have completed high school – but he gave me the foundation of a method to quantify migration.  Obviously, Bakersfield and Bend have more people trying to leave, and Eureka has more inmigration. 

If we look at the trip from Minneapolis to Eureka, it’s $1,703.  Eureka to Minneapolis is $1,362.  Park City, Utah showed up as $990 to Eureka, while Eureka to Park City was $495. 

It provides a better feel for migration in central locations like Park City – where you can go in any direction.  You can’t go north from Eureka in this time of Covid – and you can’t drive west from California.  Still, it gives data in something resembling a ratio – the challenge the rental truck industry has is getting the trucks from destination locations (inmigration) back to the places they came from (outmigration) without hiring my friend with the Greyhound pass. gives last year’s data, and it is massaged and compiled from more moving companies.  Guess what?  The top destination state (inmigration) is Idaho – and Idaho has a lot of similarities to western Montana.  Oregon was a destination state – and still needs the rental trucks from Eureka to keep things going.  I think the last person renting a truck to leave New Jersey might want to turn the lights off as he or she pays the last toll to drive out.

I’ve rented U-Haul trucks a couple of times – but the company has provided me a lot of comparative data on migration during my career.  It’s still science, and it’s still numbers driven. 

Community, Demography

Do you get all the Government you pay for?

Lincoln County offers opportunities to extract data in ways the folks who run things haven’t planned.  For example, we have three county commissioners, elected at large, and representing the areas roughly in the county’s three high school districts.

Census data can be extracted by school district – so we know the population of each high school district.  We’re still using the 2010 Census, but should be able to update soon.  Likewise, on a state website, we can find the 2020 market value and taxable value for each high school district. Since the taxable value relates directly to county taxation, it isn’t hard to make a chart showing how much residents of each school district pay for county government.

PopulationMarket ValueTaxable ValueTaxable Value/ person
Troy3,583$ 509,934,526$ 6,912,824$1,940.17

Intriguing – Troy residents provide taxes to Lincoln County at about the same rate as the county average.  North County folks provide about 43% more taxes per capita than the county average, and Libby folks per capita county taxes is approximately 28% lower than the county average.

The area represented by the Lincoln County High School district has 31.8% of the county’s population, and provides 45.5% of the tax dollars that fund county government.  Libby, where most of the county government occurs, has 50% of the county’s population, and provides 36.1% of the taxes that fund county government.

I guess it’s a question suitable for debate – is it better to receive more government than you pay for, or is it better not to receive as much government as you pay for?

When Lincoln County was created, it made sense – virtually all of the county drained into the Kootenai River, and the county was connected by river, rail and road.  With Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa, the county was split in two.  On the other hand, the numbers suggest that secession might be a fiscally responsible alternative.

More by this Author:

If LCHS District were a County

After the article on searching Lincoln County data, the question came in: “What if North Lincoln County was its own county?”  The answer is available, but it takes the sort of personality that enjoys digging through data.  Here’s a few facts that would describe the thought experiment that would be county 57. County 57, sharing boundaries with the Lincoln County High School District, would rank 31st in population…

Searching Lincoln County Data

There’s a long-term question of whether North Lincoln County gets fairly treated in county services.  Back when the county was created in 1909, it made sense – everything drained into the Kootenai (except for Stryker, and driving 93 toward Kalispell makes it easy to see how that mistake was made.)  Sixty years later, Libby Dam removed the towns along the Kootenai that were the middle of the county. …

Community, Demography

Searching Lincoln County Data

There’s a long-term question of whether North Lincoln County gets fairly treated in county services.  Back when the county was created in 1909, it made sense – everything drained into the Kootenai (except for Stryker, and driving 93 toward Kalispell makes it easy to see how that mistake was made.)  Sixty years later, Libby Dam removed the towns along the Kootenai that were the middle of the county.  Since then, Lincoln County has existed with a center that is “drive-through” and commerce from Eureka generally goes along highway 93. 

The easiest way to get the taxable values data is to search by school districts.  The Office of Public Instruction shows them, and we only need to check the 3 high schools.  This data is from the FY2021 budget reports.

Taxable ValuationPercentage
Libby District$13,407,78336.7%
LCHS (Eureka)$16,318,59244.7%
Troy$ 6,775,14618.6%
County Total$36,501,521100%

The county lists 7 school districts and taxable values are available by school district, and the 2010 Census SF1 provides population data by school districts.  Libby has a unified school district, while Eureka needs Fortine and Trego added, and Troy needs Yaak and McCormack added.  The 2010 Census Profile shows:

PopulationTotal PopulationPercentage
Libby9,8449,84450 %
Total3,58318 %
Total6,26032 %
Lincoln County19,687100%


Taking the taxable values and apportioning through the population, allows us to rank the proportion of county services each resident of the three districts funds:

High School DistrictTaxable Valuation per Capita
Lincoln County High School$1,680.77
County Average$1,586.88

The data demonstrates that the burden of funding Lincoln County’s services falls lightest on the average Libbyan, heavier on the North County, and heaviest on the Trojans.   Demonstrating that the North County receives less service requires a different method of extracting data.


Why Complete the Census

The Decennial Census is mandated in the Constitution for a single purpose – to apportion Congressional Representation according to population.  It’s important to Montana – and looking at just Montana, Wyoming, and California shows the math – Wyoming has the lowest population (547,637 in 2010), California the largest (37,253,956 in 2010) and Montana’s 2010 population was 989,415.  Montana and Wyoming each have a single Representative in Congress, so in Montana one Congresscritter represents almost a million people, while Wyoming’s 547,637 inhabitants each have nearly twice the personal congressional clout of a Montanan.

California’s 37 million people are represented by 53 congresscritters – roughly one per 703,000 Californians.  So each Californian has a little less than a third more congressional clout than a Montanan. 

We don’t know what population will get Montana 2 members of Congress.  We do know that Rhode Island has 2 – and we know the 2010 population of Rhode Island was 1,052,567.  And that is just 63,000 more than Montana showed at the last Census.

Filling out the form is a good idea.