#311. Census 2010Posted on
By now you have probably seen the first report released by the Census Bureau regarding the 2010 Census. The population of the United States grew 9.7% over the past decade, to 308.7 million people. This includes everyone living in the United State, according to the Census Bureau, not just citizens or legal immigrants.
As always, there are winners and losers when the Census numbers are counted. Most are not surprising. The West and South experienced double-digit growth rates, with 14.3% growth in the South, and 13.8% growth in the West. The Midwest and Northeast had much slower growth rates, at 3.9% and 3.2% respectively. Nevada was the fastest growing state, followed by Arizona and Utah. Michigan was the biggest loser, followed by Rhode Island, Ohio, and Louisiana.
“The Census forms the backbone for our political and economic systems…,” said Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau. The Census numbers are used to apportion Congressional seats, which is the process of dividing the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Eight states will lose one seat in the House of Representatives, including Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, while New York and Ohio will lose two seats. Eight states will gains seats, with Texas leading the way, with a four seat gain. Florida will gain two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington will each gain one seat. The remaining 32 states will have the same number of districts.
Another major use for decennial census data is for geographically defining state legislative districts, a “redistricting” process that begins in 2011. The census data allow state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts in their states, taking into account population shifts since the last census and assuring equal representation for their constituents in compliance with the “one-person, one-vote” principle of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Who controls the redistricting process in each state varies. Five states have State Redistricting Commissions; 16 states have Republican-controlled state legislatures and Republican governors who will control their state’s redistricting; seven states have Democratic-controlled state legislatures and Democratic governors who will oversee their state’s redistricting; and 12 states have split party control of their state’s government. Seven states have only one legislative district. Incidentally, five of the eight states that gained seats in the House, are controlled by Republicans.
For more Census 2010 information, visit www.census.gov.