Statewide Database | 1991 California Congressional District Summaries

Summary Description of California's 1990s Congressional Districts

The maps below show districts for California's 107th Congressional delegation. Because of population gains after the 1990 census, the state gained seven seats in the House of Representatives, increasing the delegation from 45 to 52 members. Most of the new districts are located in high-growth areas like the Central Valley and in Contra Costa, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Democrats dominated the old delegation thanks to districts crafted with an artisan's skill by the late Phil Burton, a Democratic congressman from San Francisco who died in 1983. Burton's gerrymander helped increase the Democrats' grip on the delegation from 22-21 in 1980 to 27-18 following the next election (California gained two seats in the 1980 census). Essentially, Burton split traditionally Democratic minority communities among several districts to enhance Democratic chances, compacted as many Republicans as possible into single districts and drew meandering boundaries in such places as Marin and Orange counties to create Democratic districts in otherwise hostile territory. As a result, Democrats remained dominant throughout the 1980s. But the election of a Republican governor, Pete Wilson, in 1990 ended Democratic hegemony. When Wilson vetoed reapportionment plans pushed through the Democrat-led Legislature in 1991, the task of drawing new congressional districts fell to the California Supreme Court, which appointed a panel of retired judges as "special masters" to perform the work. Under the Court's plan, 41 of the 52 districts fall solidly to one party or another, based on conventional wisdom. Republicans have 25 districts where they command at least 43 percent of registered voters, usually enough to ensure a GOP victory. Democrats have only 16 districts where 56 percent or more of the voters registered for their party, the number often cited as a safe Democratic margin. In addition, registration margins may be overcome by the power and popularity of a particular incumbent.

District Number
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

District 1 (49% D - 34% R) - MAP
Spanning the north coast to the Oregon border, this mostly rural district with some suburban areas in the south falls solidly in the "toss up" category, leaning neither toward Republicans nor Democrats and often buffeted by independent forces. For example, a Democratic incumbent was defeated here in 1990 when many Democrats defected to the Peace and Freedom Party, throwing the election to a Republican. That Republican was defeated in 1992 by another Democrat but regained the seat in the GOP tide of 1994. All this is to say that the district is volatile on Election Day, with much of the volatility the result of tensions between timber interests and environmentalists. CD 1 includes all of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake and Napa counties, and the cities of Geyserville and Healdsburg in Sonoma County and Fairfield and part of Vacaville in Solano County. The district is 79 percent white and 11 percent Latino, with Latino registration hovering at less than 3 percent.

District 2 (40% D - 44% R) - MAP
The rural mountain counties of the northeastern corner of the state are in this district, including Trinity, Shasta, Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Yuba and Nevada and most of Butte. There is a higher percentage of whites here (88 percent) than in any other congressional district in the state, and they usually elect Republicans.

District 3 (46% D - 41% R) - MAP
The north-central agricultural counties are in this district, which stretches down through the northern suburbs of Sacramento County and on into eastern Solano County. The district includes Sutter and Yolo counties, and in Solano County includes Dixon and about slightly less than half of Vacaville. It is mostly white (76 percent), with a 14 percent Latino population and 5 percent Asian. Its southern base was the old 4th District, a Democrat-leaning enclave that also included Sacramento's voter-laden southern suburbs. But those suburbs were stripped away and replaced with Tehema, Glen and Colusa counties -- northern agricultural bastions that are generally Republican.

District 4 (39% D - 47% R) - MAP
The "Mother Lode" counties of Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne are in this Republican stronghold, as well as the mountain counties of Alpine and Mono. The district also includes the northeastern corner of Sacramento County, including the City of Folsom, and is nearly 88 percent white.

District 5 (55% D - 31% R) - MAP
This completely urban district consists of the city of Sacramento, and is a safe seat for Democrats. Whites make up 59 percent of the population; Blacks make up 15 percent and Asians and Latinos each make up 13 percent.

District 6 (53% D - 30% R) - MAP
This rural and suburban district includes all of Marin County and the southern portion of Sonoma County. In the Phil Burton reapportionment of 1980, CD 6 was singled out as the best example of the gerrymander's art since it meandered all over the Bay Area in search of Democrats. (Burton created it to suit his brother, John.) But the Court reapportionment of 1990 wasn't so kind, and a portion of its Democratic registration slid away. Gone, too, is its reach into San Francisco. Despite the changes, it's still leans toward Democrats, but has enough independent-minded voters to hand it to a compatible Republican. It is mostly white (85 percent) and affluent, and has the second highest number of registered voters of any district (58 percent).

District 7 (60% D - 24% R) - MAP
This North and East Bay district also was significantly reshaped by Supreme Court masters who said they were honoring a request to put the cities of Richmond and Oakland in separate districts. Heavily Democratic, even after having lost 7 percent of its Democratic registration, the district includes portions of Contra Costa and Solano counties that are on or near San Pablo Bay, the Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay, including Richmond, San Pablo, Vallejo, Benicia, Pittsburg and Concord. Whites make up 56 percent of the district's population, followed by Blacks with 17 percent, Asians with 14 percent and Latinos with 13 percent.

District 8 (63% D - 15% R) - MAP
This urban district occupies nearly 80 percent of San Francisco, with minorities accounting for 56 percent of the district's population. But voter registration among Asians, who account for 27 percent of the district's population is low; they make up only 7 percent of the district's registered voters.

District 9 (67% D - 13% R) -MAP
Berkeley and most of Oakland are in this northern Alameda County district, which also boasts a high Green Party registration (2.5 percent). It has a minority population of 59 percent, including a Black population of 32 percent, Asian population of 15 percent and Latino population of 12 percent. Registration among Asians is 4 percent; among Latinos, it's 6 percent.

District 10 (41% D - 44% R) - MAP
This new district was created by the heavy influx of population into the East Bay, and most of those new folks are Republicans. The district covers the mostly white (82 percent) neighborhoods on the eastern side of the East Bay Hills of Contra Costa and Alameda counties, as well as the unincorporated Castro Valley area to the west. There is a higher percentage of registered voters here than in any district in the state (59 percent), and they live in the cities of Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Danville and Antioch in Contra Costa County; and Livermore, Pleasanton and Castro Valley in Alameda County.

District 11 (48% D - 41% R) - MAP
This is another new seat, and it's set in the middle of the state. Leaning Republican, the district includes the southern and eastern parts of high-growth Sacramento County and nearly all of San Joaquin County. It is 62 percent white, 21 percent Latino and 11 percent Asian. Latinos make up 13 percent of the district's registered voters, and Asians make up 2 percent.

District 12 (54% D - 27% R) - MAP
On the San Francisco peninsula, this district includes the southwest corner of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County, covering the cities of South San Francisco, Daly City and San Mateo. Firmly Democratic, it has a 44 percent minority population, including 25 percent Asian and 14 percent Latino. Minorities, however, have yet to flex their political muscle; only 6 percent of the registered voters are Asian and only 9 percent Latino.

District 13 (57% D - 27% R) - MAP
This solidly Democratic district in southern Alameda County hugs the San Francisco Bay's eastern shore, and includes the cities of San Leandro, Hayward, Union City and Fremont, as well as a portion of Milpitas in adjacent Santa Clara County. It is 55 percent white, 19 percent Asian and 18 percent Latino. Latinos comprise 14 percent of the registered voters and Asians but 4 percent.

District 14 (47% D - 35% R) - MAP
This South Bay district includes portions of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, covering the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino. Traditionally a region that elects moderate Republicans, this district can also favor a Democrat. Whites make up 69 percent of the population; Latinos 14 percent and Asians 12 percent.

District 15 (45% D - 38% R) - MAP
This is Republican-friendly territory, made even more so by reapportionment, but it took the retirement of popular Democrat Norm Minetta in 1995 to give Republicans a chance to capture it -- which they did. It's a mostly white (76 percent) district, with 14 percent Latino and 12 percent Asian. It falls in central Santa Clara County, and includes the cities of Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and much of eastern and southern San Jose, as well as northern Santa Cruz County, including Scotts Valley, an outpost of the Silicon Valley.

District 16 (54% D - 29% R) - MAP
This urban district includes the eastern part of the City of San Jose and the southern part of Santa Clara County. It is heavily Latino district (37 percent), but Latinos account for just 2 percent of registered voters. Similarly, Asians account for 20 percent of the population, but account for fewer than 5 percent of the registered voters.

District 17 (52% D - 31% R) - MAP
Made up of Monterey, San Benito and part of Santa Cruz counties, the voters in this district tend to be more liberal than the registration indicates and in fact the area has been held by Democrats for some time, including White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. But the inland parts of the district, over the hills in the Salinas Valley, are more conservative and growing faster. Things could change. The district's population is 57 percent white and 31 percent Latino, but the latter group makes up only 14 percent of registered voters.

District 18 (50% D - 37% R) - MAP
In the middle of the Central Valley, this district includes all of Stanislaus and Merced counties and small portions of adjacent San Joaquin, Madera and Fresno counties necessary to achieve population balance. The district could fall in either political camp: it elects moderate Democrats to Congress but tends to vote Republican in statewide races. Latinos make up 26 percent of the district's population but only 13 percent of the district's registered voters.

District 19 (43% D - 45% R) - MAP
Reapportionment gave this formerly Democratic stronghold in the northern San Joaquin Valley a decidedly Republican flavor thanks to the Supreme Court's desire to carve a Latino district out of neighboring territory (CD 20). With three-quarters of the district's population in Fresno County and the remainder divided among Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties, this district is 24 percent Latino and 65 percent white.

District 20 (56% D - 33% R) - MAP
Court masters constructed this district to gather in as many Latinos as possible, and the result is a 55 percent Latino district. The result, too, is a district which centers on Kings County, but contains a tail that snakes south into Kern County to circle Bakersfield from the south and east. It also includes portions of Visalia and Tulare as well as the cities of Fresno, Reedley and Sanger in Fresno County. The district is 67 percent minority but has the fifth lowest registration in the state. Latinos, for instance, account for only 34 percent of the registered voters.

District 21 (39% D - 49% R) - MAP
Basically, this district was what remained in southern San Joaquin Valley after Court masters constructed the minority-dominant 20th District. The district includes Kern County, minus Bakersfield, and surges north to include the remainder of Tulare and Madera counties. Solidly in the Republican camp, whites make up 71 percent of the district; Latinos, 20 percent.

District 22 (42% D - 42% R) - MAP
Right in the middle of the Central California coast is a district that is more conservative than the rest of the state's coastal areas. Centered on San Luis Obispo County, and including most of Santa Barbara County, this area has almost always sent Republicans to the state Legislature or to Congress. The exceptions have come when the area is split, pushing half its population to the north or south, or pairing it with equally conservative inland districts. The Supreme Court didn't do that, making this district safe for Republicans.

District 23 (42% D - 42% R) - MAP
This district is almost completely inside Ventura County, with the exception of Thousand Oaks and Carpenteria in Santa Barbara County. Although along the coast, this district looks more toward Los Angeles than those further north. As a result, Republicans here behave like most Republicans in the state, making this district safe for that party. Thirty percent of this district is Latino, but they account for only 14 percent of registered voters.

District 24 (45% D - 40% R) - MAP
Centered on the southwestern San Fernando Valley in communities along Highway 101 corridor like Agoura Hills and Calabassas, this district also includes Malibu and nearly all of Thousand Oaks in Ventura County. This is the wealthiest part of the San Fernando Valley mixed in with a few more liberal spots such as Malibu. As a result, elections here should be close and expensive throughout the decade. The population here is 80 percent white.

District 25 (37% D - 48% R) - MAP
The northern part of Los Angeles County in the Antelope Valley (Palmdale, Lancaster and Santa Clarita) is more akin politically to the Central Valley than to the rest of the county to the south. Indeed, this part of the county at times has tried to split off and form a new county of its own. This district includes all that area and dips over to pick up Chatsworth and Northridge from the San Fernando Valley as well. It's solidly Republican.

District 26 (59% D - 27% R) - MAP
This is a heavily-minority district carved out of the San Fernando Valley and includes Pacoima and San Fernando. Minorities make up 66 percent of the population, with Latinos comprising almost 53 percent. Republican registration has fallen off 11 points since 1992, which makes CD 26 even safer for a Democrat.

District 27 (43% D - 42% R) - MAP
The suburbs north of downtown Los Angeles, including Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and La Canada. The politics here are Republican even though nearly 40 percent of the population is minority. The trouble is, most of the minority population isn't registered and doesn't vote. Latinos, for example, make up 20 percent of the population but fewer than 8 percent of the registered voters.

District 28 (41% D - 45% R) - MAP
This district includes the northern part of the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. It's vaguely dumbbell shape was the result of carving out the community of Azusa and making it part of a Latino-dominated district to the south. The result of this exclusion is to make the 28th solidly Republican. It includes the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, San Dimas, Claremont, Covina, West Covina and part of Pomona.

District 29 (57% D - 26% R) - MAP
The affluent communities of Los Angeles' westside, including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Westwood and Hancock Park, have been collected into this solidly Democratic district that has been dominated by liberal Jewish politicians. The area's affluence has been magnified by the fact that much of the Hollywood community also lives here. The district population is 75 percent white.

District 30 (61% D - 22% R) - MAP
A heavily Latino district that includes downtown Los Angeles and extends up to the city's northeastern boarder. Overall minority population in this district is nearly 85 percent. Latinos have more than 61 percent of the population and another 20 percent is Asian. With some 34 percent of the registered voters, Latinos are expected to dominate the politics here.

District 31 (58% D - 27% R) - MAP
This lower San Gabriel Valley district has been created to capture the minority communities in the area, including Alhambra and Monterey Park on the west through El Monte and Azusa on the east. The Latino population, at 58 percent, is a little smaller here than in the 30th. But the Latino percentage of registered voters is higher, at about 41 percent.

District 32 (74% D - 13% R) - MAP
One of the Los Angeles districts designed to be won by a black politician. This district includes Crenshaw and the Exposition Park area of the city and Culver City. It is 40 percent African-American. Nearly a third of the district is Latino, but represents a much smaller portion of the registered voters. This is the second most heavily Democratic congressional district in the state.

District 33 (66% D - 18% R) - MAP
A Latino district southeast of downtown Los Angeles, this district also includes communities of Huntington Park, Maywood and South Gate. The Latino population is nearly 84 percent, and that group has 48 percent of registered voters.

District 34 (61% D - 27% R) - MAP
A little further east of the 33rd District is another Latino district. This one includes Montebello, Pico Rivera, Norwalk, La Puente and part of Whittier. The Latino population is lower here, only 62 percent, but the percentage of registered voters from that group is almost as great at 45 percent.

District 35 (75% D - 11% R) - MAP
The most Democratic congressional district in the state includes the cities of Inglewood and Hawthorne as well as south-central Los Angeles. The district's population is 43 percent Black, and that ethic group will dominate politics here.

District 36 (41% D - 42% R) - MAP
This district runs along Santa Monica Bay from south of Santa Monica through the Palos Verdes Peninsula and includes the cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and Rolling Hills Estates. It is 69 percent white and solidly Republican.

District 37 (72% D - 12% R) - MAP
The third most heavily Democratic district in the state, this district includes Watts and Wilmington in Los Angeles as well as Compton, Carson and the downtown parts of Long Beach. The district's population is 88 percent minority, with the largest ethnic group Latinos, who make up 45 percent of the population. However, that group constitutes only 13 percent of the registered voters and the state Supreme Court, in drawing the district, figured that Blacks, with just over a third of the district population, would dominate politics here.

District 38 (50% D - 35% R) - MAP
This district encompasses the ethnically mixed working class communities that run from Long Beach northward toward downtown Los Angeles and includes communities such as Lakewood, Bellflower, Paramount, Downey and most of Long Beach itself. There is a substantial Latino minority population, but whites dominate the political process. The district had gone Republican through the first half of the 1990s, but the races all were competitive and registration favors Democrats enough to keep it that way until the next redistricting.

District 39 (38% D - 48% R) - MAP
One-third of this district's voters live in the Los Angeles County communities of Cerritos and La Mirada; two-thirds live across the border in Orange County cities like Fullerton, La Habra, Buena Park and Brea City. LA voters are evenly split between Democrats and the GOP, but there are 30,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats among Orange County voters. The district has a large minority population -- Latinos, 23 percent; Asians, 13 percent; and Blacks, 3 percent -- but less than one-quarter of them are registered to vote.

District 40 (38% D - 47% R) - MAP
In the 1980s redistricting, the northern half of this district (Inyo County) was lumped together with most of Kern and San Luis Obispo counties and a sliver of Republican Los Angeles County to form a wildly gerrymandered district (the 20th) meant to concentrate Republicans. The new district still includes all of Inyo County, but the rest of it no longer jogs crazily across the map of Southern California. Instead, it takes in the San Bernardino County cities Redlands, Hesperia, Victorville, Yucaipa, Loma Linda and the Apple Valley. Although geographically split between the two counties, more than 95 percent of the population lives in San Bernardino. Three-fourths of the population is white. Latinos are the largest minority with 16 percent.

District 41 (39% D - 48% R) - MAP
A 48 percent minority district split between Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Democrats outnumber Republicans in LA, thanks to a concentration of Black voters in Pomona. But LA accounts for only 30 percent of district voters. More than 50 percent live in San Bernardino, where GOP registration outguns Democrats 52 percent to 39 percent. And in Orange County, which has 20 percent of the district, Republicans swamp Democrats by better than two-to-one. Thus, the district is solidly GOP. The large minority population is plagued by political inactivity. Only 11 percent of the Asians, centered around Diamond Bar in LA County, are registered to vote. Nearly a third of the district is Latino, as well, but only 26 percent of the Latinos are registered.

District 42 (51% D - 37% R) - MAP
A San Bernardino County district that includes most of the city of San Bernardino, plus Colton, Rialto, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga and a chunk of Ontario. A 49 percent minority district, CD 42 is 34 percent Latino, 11 percent Black and 4 percent Asian. Less than one-quarter of the Latinos are registered to vote, however. Many of the Democrats here -- especially in San Bernardino, Rialto and Fontana -- were siphoned off in the 1980s gerrymander and added to Democratic precincts on the north side of the city of Riverside to bolster Democratic chances in the old 36th District. As a result, CD 42 has seen some fierce fights during the 1990s as Republicans have tried to oust liberal veteran Democrat George Brown Jr. It likely will remain a battleground for the rest of the decade, regardless of who represents it.

District 43 (39% D - 47% R) - MAP
A new district carved out of western Riverside County that takes in the city of Riverside, plus Corona and Lake Elsinore and stopping just north of Temecula. The district is 65 percent white, 25 percent Latino. With the city of Riverside united in one district, the Democratic advantage created for the old 36th District slipped away.

District 44 (42% D - 45% R) - MAP
Eastern Riverside County, from fast- growing Moreno Valley to Blythe and including Palm Springs and Indio. It closely resembles the old 37th District with its head (city of Riverside and Lake Elsinore) chopped off. More than a third of the district is minority, with Latinos alone accounting for 28 percent. Latinos account for only 19 percent of registered voters, however.

District 45 (33% D - 51% R) - MAP
An Orange County GOP bastion that scoots along the county's north coast and includes Seal Beach, Stanton, Huntington Beach, Westminster, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa and part of Newport Beach. It is 73 percent white, 14 percent Latino, about 10 percent Asian and less than 2 percent Black.

District 46 (46% D - 40% R) - MAP
A 64 percent minority district in Orange County that is 50 percent Latino and nearly 12 percent Asian. It includes most of Santa Ana, all of Garden Grove and central Anaheim. Minority voting power has not matured, however, as only 1-in-10 Latinos and Asians are registered to vote. In the 1980s redistricting, this district was part of a desperate gerrymander meant to preserve at least one Democratic congressional seat from Orange County. The district (the old 38th) meandered all over Orange and southern Los Angeles counties in search of Democratic precincts. It worked -- for a time. Democrats enjoyed a 17-point registration edge in 1982 thanks to the gerrymander. But by 1984 that edge had shrunk to 11 points and the then-Democratic incumbent, Jerry Patterson, was defeated for re-election. The area then belonged to Republican Bob Dornan. But GOP registration has eroded six points between 1991 and 1996, making the area once again competitive for both parties.

District 47 (29% D - 56% R) - MAP
Interior Orange County is very safe Republican territory. It includes the city of Orange, Irvine, Tustin, and a smattering of beachfront at Laguna Beach and part of Newport Beach. It is affluent and 75 percent white.

District 48 (28% D - 55% R) - MAP
Another most solid GOP district, gathering in Republican communities spread over Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. The district includes all of southern Orange County, including most of Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente; and a chunk of northern San Diego County, including Oceanside, Camp Pendleton, Fallbrook and Mt. Palomar. Nearly 95 percent of district voters live in these two counties, but the district also includes the city of Temecula in Riverside County. Republicans dominate Democrats in all three counties. The district has a small minority population -- about 25 percent -- with Latinos (17 percent) the largest segment.

District 49 (38% D - 40% R) - MAP
A San Diego County district populated with independent-minded, often unpredictable voters who made a practice during the late 1980s and early 1990s of throwing out incumbents. A coastal district, it runs from La Jolla in the north to Imperial Beach in the south and includes Coronado and just shy of half the city of San Diego. When the redistricting plan was announced, three incumbent GOP congressmen lived within the 49th District -- and all three chose to move into other districts rather than face voters here. Like other San Diego Republican districts, this one has a modest minority population that does not vote very much and bears little impact on election results.

District 50 (47% D - 31% R) - MAP
A new San Diego County district that gathers in Latinos and other minorities to create a district that is 69 percent minority. Latinos comprise 41 percent of the population but only 22 percent of registered voters. Blacks (14 percent) and Asians (14 percent) have about equal numbers. The district runs from just southwest of La Mesa to the Mexican border and takes in Chula Vista, National City and a third of the city of San Diego.

District 51 (29% D - 51% R) - MAP
Escondido, Encinitas and the rest of the city of San Diego make up this San Diego County district that is most unfriendly to Democrats. It is predominately white (76 percent).

District 52 (38% D - 44% R) - MAP
A large district that stretches from Imperial County on the Arizona border west to La Mesa and El Cajon in San Diego County not far from the Pacific Ocean. It closely resembles the old 45th district. All of Imperial County lies inside this district, as does the city of Santee in northern San Diego County. The district has a 22 percent Latino population, mostly in Imperial County and rural San Diego County. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Imperial County part of the district by over 6000 voters. Unfortunately, Imperial County accounts for only 13 percent of the registered voters. The other 87 percent live in San Diego County where Republicans outnumber Democrats.