Article

The South's Changing Demographics

Susan A. MacManus

in The Oxford Handbook of Southern Politics

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195381948
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195381948.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The South's Changing Demographics

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Demographic trend analysis is an integral part of virtually everything politic. There is a widely held belief that “Demographics is destiny,” especially in the high-growth South. There is less agreement among scholars, party strategists, and political consultants as to which demographic shifts are the most significant, the best predictors of election outcomes. Demographic data are at the heart of the analyses seeking answers to five perennial questions: Is the South a red, blue, or purple region? Which states within the region are changing their hues the fastest, and why? Are the changes permanent and suggestive of a regional partisan realignment? Is race (and gender) disappearing as a dividing line? Can the presidency be won without the South? This article examines major demographic trends in the region since 1950, the year after the publication of V. O. Key Jr.'s seminal book, Southern Politics in State and Nation. In that book Key linked the South's demographics (and economics) to its underdeveloped, racially discriminatory political system.

Keywords: American South; demographics; Southern Politics in State and Nation; political system; racial discrimination; election outcome

Article.  11113 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics

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