U.S. Census Bureau announces official figures for 2011 reapportionment

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December 21, 2010

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By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

WASHINGTON, D.C: As of April 1, 2010, the official, enumerated population of the United States is 308,745,538.[1] This represents 9.7% population growth since 2000, confirming expert predictions that U.S. population growth would prove to have slowed.[2] The other major report of the morning was the reapportionment of Congressional seats, the reason that gives the Census its Constitutional mandate.

In all, there are 12 seats, affecting 18 states, that will be shifted. Eight states, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington will gain seats. Texas makes the biggest overall gains, picking up four seats. This marks the seventh consecutive decade when the Lone Star State has gained Congressional Districts. Florida, gaining two seats, is America's other state to pick up multiple seats.[3]

Ten states, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, will lose seats. Of those, New York and Ohio are each giving up two; the other states, one.[4]

Beginning with the 2012 elections, the average population of a House District will be 710,767, up from 646,952 in 2000. The number of House seats, at 435, will remain steady. Increasing the total seats in the House is a Congressional matter, and the Census Bureau plays no role should the House decide to grow its size.


The country's 23rd census

Speaking at the National Press Club, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Director of the U.S. Census Bureau Robert M. Groves spent nearly half an hour reviewing the history of the Census, conducted for the 23rd time in 2010, and praising the government's process in performing the Census before reporting actual numbers. Secretary Locke, who had just come from reporting the final numbers to President Obama, told the audience that the 2010 Census proves, "Government can deliver a project on time and within budget."

Director Groves took the floor to report the actual numbers. Along with key data about the movement of Congressional seats, Dr. Groves noted that, for the first time, the West is now a more populous region than the Midwest. Indeed, the West and South made their gains at the expense of older states in the Midwest and Northeast.

As predicted, population growth has slowed and interstate migration to the Republican-leaning Southern states means many states there pick up a single seat each. Growth in that region was 14.3%, the highest in any region. The West, second at over 13%, had the greatest variation in growth rates across its states. It is also home to America's fastest growing state, Nevada, with 35.1% population growth. Michigan, which saw negative growth, -0.6%, is the slowest growing state in the Union.

California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois remain America's most populous states, even though New York has lost seats. California, for the first time, gains no seats. However, the state did not actually lose a seat, as some had predicted.

On the other end, seven states will have a single House District, unchanged from 2000. America's least populous states include Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota.

America' fastest growing states are Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Texas. The slowest growth was seen in Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, New York, and West Virginia.

Population density at the high and low ends has remained static. For the past half century, the same five states have been the most densely populated: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland. Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota remain the least dense, unchanged since 1990.

The Census spent a total of $1.87 billion and stopped a trend of declines in the number of Americans who return their survey by mail. For 2010, the mail return rate was 74%, the same as in 2000. To count citizens who did not return surveys, 600,000 temporary workers visited 50 million homes, making up to six visits.

Additional data, the county level numbers for each state that legislatures use to reapportion seats among state Houses and state Senates, will be published on a rolling basis beginning in February 2011 and wrapping up by March 31, 2011.

States that Added Congressional Seats after 2010 Census
State Before 2010 census After 2010 census[5]
Arizona 8 9 (+1)
Florida 25 27 (+2)
Georgia 13 14 (+1)
Nevada 3 4 (+1)
South Carolina 6 7 (+1)
Texas 32 36 (+4)
Utah 3 4 (+1)
Washington 9 10 (+1)
States that Lost Congressional Seats after 2010 Census
State Before 2010 census After 2010 census[6]
Illinois 19 18 (-1)
Iowa 5 4 (-1)
Louisiana 7 6 (-1)
Massachusetts 10 9 (-1)
Michigan 15 14 (-1)
Missouri 9 8 (-1)
New Jersey 13 12 (-1)
New York 29 27 (-2)
Ohio 18 16 (-2)
Pennsylvania 19 18 (-1)

See also