- Tom Silva
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2010 U.S. Census Shows Slowest Population Growth in 70 Years
Now that the long-awaited data from the 2010 Census has been published, the states are learning which places will gain congressional seats and precious electoral votes — a circumstance that could impact the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. The U.S. Constitution requires a census count every 10 years to accurately reflect population shifts in the nation and determine congressional reapportionment as the states divide the House of Representatives’ 435 seats. Inevitably, Democrats and Republicans will squabble over redistricting as states gaining or losing seats draw new districts.
“Many of the population increases are expected in Republican-leaning states in the South and West, while traditional strongholds of the Democrats in the North and Midwest are expected to lose population,” noted Keating Holland, CNN’s polling director. Additionally, because Republicans in several states took control of the legislatures from Democrats in the mid-term elections, they will have significant control over how the districts are redrawn.
Ohio and New York each will lose two Congressional seats. Poised to lose a single seat are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. California will retain its 53 Congressional seats – the largest in the nation. States that will pick up seats include Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the data gleaned will “directly affect how more than $4 trillion is allocated to state, local and tribal governments over the next 10 years.” If preliminary estimates hold true, the 2010 census will reveal that America’s population growth fell to its lowest level in 70 years. Demographers believe the official 2010 count will be approximately 308.7 million, putting U.S. growth at nine percent, the slowest growth since the 1940 census. During that decade, the Great Depression slashed previous population growth rate by more than half, to 7.3 percent. The U.S. is still growing quickly relative to other developed nations. The population in France and England each increased approximately five percent over the past decade; Japan’s population is largely unchanged and Germany’s population is declining. China grew at about six percent; Canada’s growth rate is more or less 10 percent.