By Jeannette Porter
Capital News Service
AMELIA, Va. — Amelia County’s return to the redistricting drawing board has raised questions about the demographics of Amelia: Who’s living where? And how have these patterns changed since 2000?
The Amelia Bulletin Monitor’s examination of the 2000 and 2010 census data shows growth in the population overall, with particularly strong trends (though small absolute numbers) in the Hispanic community. The black population of Amelia actually shrank during this decade.
Amelia’s population grew from 11,400 in 2000 to 12,690 in 2010, an increase of 11.3 percent.
That’s a relief — because many rural counties across the United States have been shrinking. Thanks to a “natural increase” (more births than deaths) and in-migration, Amelia is not a part of this trend.
Despite national data about the rapidly growing Hispanic population, in Amelia a “majority minority district” will continue to mean an African-American or black district for some time yet. In the 2010 census, 290 persons identified themselves as Hispanic, versus 2,932 who identified themselves as black.
However, the black fraction of Amelia’s total population dropped from 28 percent in 2000 to 23 percent in 2010. The Hispanic fraction more than doubled in the same time period, from 0.8 percent in 2000 to 2 percent in 2010. The fraction of population that identified itself as white also increased, from 71 percent to 74 percent.
The population under 18 shows the future. The U.S. Census Bureau has not released explicit numbers for 2010, but The Monitor arrived at figures by subtracting “population over 18” figures from the “total population” figures from the 2010 census.
Amelia had 2,822 people under the age of 18 in 2010; these youths made up 22 percent of the county’s population. Virginia’s statewide population under 18 was 23 percent.
Of the Amelia County population under 18, 22 percent were black, slightly less than the proportion of blacks in the population overall. Hispanic youth were 3.4 percent of Amelia’s youth population – even though Hispanics represent only 2 percent of the county’s overall population.
This suggests that Amelia’s Hispanic population is likely to continue to grow, and to grow at a faster rate than the population overall.
The drop in the black population was most marked in the Jetersville area south of Route 360. Known as Block Group 1 of Census Tract 9901 in 2000 and 9301 in 2010 (see accompanying map), that area’s black population went from 587 to 178, a 70 percent drop.
The Census Block Group designations and the Amelia voting precinct designations do not exactly match, but Block Group 4 of Census Tract 9902 in 2000 and 9302 in 2010 is roughly comparable to Mannboro. Its 2010 black population was the highest of the nine block groups in Amelia County, at 484, making it the logical core of Amelia’s “majority minority” district.
The rise in the Hispanic population was most marked in the Village area. Block Group 2 of Census Tract 9901 in 2000 and 9301 in 2010 went from nine Hispanics in 2000 to 81 Hispanics in 2010, 28 percent of Amelia’s Hispanic population overall.