December 22, 2010
Written by C.N.
Earlier this week, the Census Bureau released its first official data from the 2010 census. They also produced the interactive graphic below where you can get more detailed numbers by state (you can visit the Census’s site for a full-screen version), but the main findings are:
- As of April 1, 2010, the U.S.’s population is officially 308,745,538 — an increase of 9.7% from the 2000 census.
- This 9.7% increase is much smaller than the 13.2% increase from 1990-2000 and actually is the smallest increase since 1940.
- Nonetheless, the U.S.’s population is still growing faster than other industrialized nations: in the past decade, the populations in France and England each increased about 5%, about 6% in China, and 10% in Canada. Japan’s population is largely unchanged and is actually declining in Germany.
As news organizations such as MSNBC report, the 2010 Census data shows that several states in the South and West are gaining population (and some new seats in the House of Representatives) while a few states in the Northeast and Midwest are losing population:
The most populous state was California (37,253,956); the least populous, Wyoming (563,626). The state that gained the most numerically since 2010 was Texas (up 4,293,741 to 25,145,561); the state that gained the most as a percentage was Nevada (up 35 percent to 2,700,551).
Politically, Texas will gain four House seats due to a burgeoning Hispanic population and a diversified economy that held up relatively well during the recession. Other winners are GOP-leaning Arizona (1), Florida (2) . . . Georgia (1), South Carolina (1), Utah (1) and Washington (1).
States that lose seats are: Illinois (1), Iowa (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1). The Ohio and New York losses typify many of the Democratic strongholds carried by Barack Obama in 2008 that saw declines in political influence. And, for the first time in its history, Democratic-leaning California did not gain a House seat after a census after losing many of its residents in the last decade to neighboring states.
It would seem that these latest Census numbers favor Republicans in the 2012 election. But as the New York Times points out, much of the population increase is due to the fast-growing Latino population:
[P]opulation gains in the South and West were driven overwhelmingly by minorities, particularly Hispanics, and the new districts, according to the rules of redistricting, will need to be drawn in places where they live, opening potential advantages for Democrats, who tend to be more popular among minorities. . . . [T]he most lasting political impact for Republicans and Democrats alike is the rise in the influence of Hispanic voters, particularly across Arizona, Nevada and Texas, which underscores the urgency facing both parties in finding new ways to appeal to Hispanics. In future presidential races, Democrats believe they can make inroads into Arizona and Texas, which are traditionally carried by Republicans, particularly if voters speak out against Arizona’s tough immigration law.
The way it’s shaping up, it looks like the Latino population will play a big role in determining who wins or loses many elections in the South and West. Given that, just last week, Republicans fought hard to defeat the DREAM Act and given their history of supporting (or at least being largely indifferent to) numerous anti-immigrant movements and legislation, it’s too early to say that Republicans will have an easy time in the 2010 elections.
Stay tuned . . .