Proposed Wards and Precincts
The City of Northampton was required to establish new wards and precincts by June, 2011. The new wards and precincts are based on population numbers as determined by the US Census. The Massachusetts Constitution requires that legislative districts be formed with "as nearly as may be" an equal number of "inhabitants" as determined by the federal census. The Northampton Reprecincting Committee has completed its work and released its changes as well as the new electoral map.
The changes to the electoral map are as follows:
• Ward 1 & 3 : Bradford Street was moved to Ward 3 (for now)
• Ward 3: Lower half of hourglass was moved to 3B to 3A (cleans up a ‘finger problem’; we've eliminated the bottleneck). Island Road area goes from 3B to 3A. This area was in 3A until the 2000 census; it moves back to its traditional precinct.
• Ward 5, 6, 7: Each saw one block moved from precinct to precinct within Ward to balance count
• Ward 2 & 4: The Hospital Hill, Grove Street Community Garden area originally in Ward 4 is now in Ward 2 to be in compliance.
• Ward 2 is now divided on an east- west axis which eliminates ‘fingers’
The Reprecincting Committee invites city-wide public input before its final Committee vote. Please join us at our next meeting:
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
City Council Chambers - in the Puchalski Municipal Annex behind City Hall
Click here to download the proposed wards and precincts map
Narrative Boundary Description
In addition to a submitting a map of the ward a precinct boundaries to the state, the City must also provide a written description of the physical path that can be traversed to trace the boundaries. This "metes and bounds" description chooses a starting point and then describes a circuit that ends "at the point of beginning."
Click here to download the narrative describing the proposed ward and precinct boundaries.
Census 2010 Census Blocks
You can get a map of Northampton's 2010 population by clicking the link below. The map shows 2010 population by census block as an overlay on the current wards and precincts. Please note that a census block is a unit of geography. A census block does not necessarily conform to a city block.
Click here for map of Census 2010 census blocks
Census Block Population Changes 2000 - 2010
The Census 2000 population of Northampton was 28978. For that census year the area within the official city boundaries was divided into 469 geographical sub-units named "census blocks".
The Census 2010 population of the city is 28549, a decrease of 429 persons. While the population declined, the number of census blocks increased to 745.
While at first this difference between the number of census blocks in 2000 and the number in 2010 seems counterintuitive, the explanation is straightforward once you know more about how census blocks are defined.
As indicated before, census blocks are geographical areas. They may or may not correspond to a city block. For example, while we wouldn't ordinarily think of a pond, lake, or river as a city block, it's completely possible that these bodies of water could be census blocks.
In general, a census block can be any area that can be described as being bounded by (relatively) unchanging linear features. Common examples of these line-like features include the centerlines of streets and rivers, railroad tracks, and the right-of-way under power transmission wires. On the other hand, plant hedges, fences, and parcel boundaries would not be acceptable because they are readily subject to change.
Census block are the "building blocks" of wards and precincts. The Northampton Census Reprecincting Committee will use a set of rules to create wards and precincts to ensure equal representation of all citizens (not just voters) in Northampton.
Because of the way census blocks are delineated, it is entirely possible for your neighbor across the street to live in a completely different census block (and precinct and ward) than you. In fact, if you own a parcel of land crossed by a stream or power lines, the land could conceivably be in more than one census block! [In case you're wondering, if there was a house on the land, its residents would vote in the ward/precinct assigned to the census block on which the house sits.]
Click here for map of population change by census block from 2000 to 2010
The initial release of Census 2010 includes five data tables concerned with three "variables": ethnic origin, race, and the occupancy status of housing.
As with other census variables, data are collected in geographic units, the most detailed of which is a census block. A collection of census blocks is called a "census block group". In turn, a collection of census block groups is called a "census tract". In the case of Northampton, we could call the collection of census tracts a "city" although that's not really the technical designation.
Using these various levels of geography together with one
or more census variables, demographers can create detailed "portraits" about a population.
Click here for a map showing the composition of Northampton's residents