Some Interesting Statistics

This is a map of the areas which voted Obama in the US South, followed by one showing where cotton picking happened 150 years ago:

Wow. As Strange Maps points out, the correlation is clear:

The link between these two maps is not causal, but correlational, and the correlation is African-Americans. Once they were the slaves on whom the cotton economy had to rely for harvesting. Despite an outward migration towards the Northern cities, their settlement pattern now still closely corresponds to that of those days.
During the Democratic primary, many African-American voters supported Hillary Clinton, thinking it unlikely Barack Obama would win the nomination, let alone the presidency. When it became apparent that Obama had a good shot at the nomination (and thereafter at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue itself), their support for Obama became near monolithic. As it turns out, president-elect Obama won with the an overall support of 53%, but that includes over 90% of black voters (1).

And while their votes did not swing their states towards ‘their’ (2) candidate, the measure in which black residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina voted for Obama is remarkable in that this particular voting pattern still corresponds with settlement patterns of almost a century and a half ago.


5 Comments on “Some Interesting Statistics

  1. The area running across Alabama is referred to as “the Black Belt” (due to the high quality soil that was perfect for growing cotton). I live in Montgomery, which is right in the middle of the belt. African-Americans make up 51% of the population here and are in the majority in the other Black Belt counties.
    Many people from outside the South have no idea how diverse the demographics can be and assume that whites vastly outnumber African-Americans, that African-Americans make up a very small portion of rural populations, or that whites and blacks have little interaction. In actuality, whites and blacks are very integrated in many areas and live side-by-side.

  2. I don’t know what its significance may be, but I do notice that in one area (the N Carolina – Virginia border, or far top right for those who are less familiar with the shapes of the states) there is a lot of blue on the top map although it was outside the main cotton-producing area.  Is there some other reason for Obama support there?

  3. That area in N.C. is probably a more urban area with a large African-American and urban population, which tends to vote more democratic.  North Carolina is in flux; there are a lot of yankees moving in, who tend to vote more democratic.

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