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GOP Districts Isolated From Demographic Changes

While America is becoming more diverse, most congressional districts represented by Republicans are overwhelmingly white, with relatively few minorities.
Image: U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election
File photo of a voter casting a ballot on November, 6, 2012 in Janesville Wisconsin. Darren Hauck / Getty Images

While Republican leaders have been urging their members to reach out to Latino voters on immigration, House Republicans have not moved forward on a bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate.

Demographics may help explain why GOP members do not see immigration reform as a priority.

After the 2010 census, Republicans redrew congressional districts in ways that favored their candidates, which helped the House GOP maintain a 33-seat majority in 2012 and left districts isolated from demographic changes.

On average, Republican-held districts are 74 percent white, 11 percent Hispanic and 9 percent black. In contrast, the average Democratic district is 51 percent white, 23 percent Hispanic and 17 percent black - more diverse than the country as a whole.

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got only 27 percent of the Latino vote in 2012, the Republican National Committee (RNC) concluded "the party must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform." But the House has not moved on legislation.

The largely white Republican districts, however, will eventually become more diverse.

"Sooner or later, demography is not on the side of those places staying isolated," said William Frey, a demographer at The Brookings Institution.

-Reporting by the Associated Press