A tale of two districts
Here is the thing about Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. To understand it's makeup, let alone it's map, you have to go back and look at the redistricting that resulted in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District. I have discussed the history behind the creation of PA-18 in the past.
So take a look at the two districts. Here is PA-18 currently held by Tim Murphy:
and here is what the now-vacant PA-12 looks like these days:
If you are less than a six sigma jigsaw puzzler, maybe it would help to see how they fit together:
PA-12 is prety much what was left over once PA-18 was carved out deliberately. 18 might be one of the most analytically drawn districts in history. What was left over in Southwestern Pennsylvania that also included Johnstown, the home of longtime incumbent Murtha, was strung together to form PA-12. The extreme division that results between PA12 and PA18 comes out in a lot of ways. Here is a summary of how the two districts differ by just a few metrics.
|Median Household Income (2008)||$38,762||$56,576|
|Median Housing Value||$89,500||$139,300|
|Poverty Rate (% of population)||14.9%||7.0%|
|Foreign Born (% of population)||1.5%||3.6%|
From the 2005-2008 American Community Survey (ACS)
Those stats are pretty amazing. You really could not have created two more different districts if you tried. That they are not only side-by-side, but literally overlapping is a tribute to the mapmakers who came up with the boundaries of the two districts. Let's just say they were not drawn randomly.
Geography is politics!