BEAUFORT - It's been more than two decades since Beaufort has had a black member of city council and a state researcher says it won't be easy to create a safe black-majority district.

South Carolina's chief demographer Bobby Bowers tells The Beaufort Gazette (http://bit.ly/1rpHihE) that a safe district needs about a 60 percent black population because blacks tend to register and turn out in lower percentages than whites.

The local NAACP branch has proposed two new Beaufort city council maps. But neither map has a district more than 54 percent black.

Bowers says it is tougher to draw safe black districts because minority populations are shifting and becoming more spread out in communities.