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Redistricting

  • By: Toby Moore
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A traditional focus for political geographers, particularly those interested in U.S. politics, is redistricting—the process of changing the boundaries of electoral districts to maintain equal populations. It is a critical part of the maintenance of constituency-based systems, particularly those with single-member districts. In international contexts, redistricting is often called boundary delimitation, and in Commonwealth countries, it is called redistribution. In the United States, the term is sometimes used interchangeably with reapportionment, although the latter word more precisely refers to the redistribution of congressional seats among states following the decennial census. Manipulation of redistricting for electoral advantage is called gerrymandering.

Interest in redistricting stems from the fact that the way district boundaries are drawn can have a far-reaching impact on the distribution of political power. Placing large ...

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