Census 2010 Impacts Reapportionment

CensusOn December 21, 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the resident population of the United States, which includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia, was 308,745,538. The U.S. population had grown by 9.7 percent since 2000. Population growth in the Sun Belt continued to outpace that of other regions. The South and the West showed the greatest increase: 14,318,924 and 8,747,621, respectively. The Northeast and the Midwest also grew, but at a much slower rate. The chief reason for the census, which is constitutionally mandated, is to determine official population counts for assigning seats in the House of Representatives.

Gains and losses in population over each 10-year period effect changes in the number of states’ representatives in Congress. California remains the most populous state, with 37,253,956, and will retain the highest number of representatives: 53. Texas is the state whose population increased the most since the 2000 census; it therefore will gain the most representatives: four. Florida will gain two representatives, and other fast-growing states including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington will gain one each. States that experienced slower rates of growth will lose representatives. The congressional delegations of New York and Ohio will each shrink by two, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will lose one representative apiece. Of these, only Michigan saw an actual decline in population since 2000.

The number of each state’s representatives also determines its electoral vote, which is key to presidential elections. Each state’s electoral vote equals the number of its representatives plus senators. The current changes will become effective in the 2012 national election.

Related Links

  • A New Portrait of America, First 2010 Census Results
    This Census Bureau Web page presents the new U.S. and state population counts that form the basis of apportionment; includes links to interactive map, press release, photos, and special event program, presentation, and transcript.
    (Source: December 21, 2010)
  • First 2010 Census Results News Conference Highlights
    This video captures highlights of the Census Bureau’s 23rd official announcement of the U.S. population count.
    (Source: Youtube.com; uploaded December 27, 2010)
  • Swing State Project: 2010 Census Reapportionment Numbers
    This political-wonk Web site crunches the apportionment numbers to compare winners and losers, based on the Census Bureau data.
    (Source: December 21, 2011)
  • Census 2010: What Is Reapportionment
    This Web page explains reapportionment and provides an interactive map presenting historical background on apportionment, with population and representation projections through 2030.
    (Source: USA Today, April 5, 2010)