Census,  GOP

U.S. Census Shows Slow Population Growth and Likely Republican Party Gains

Utah gained one Congressional seat, adding 530,716 new residents since 2000, according to the 2010 census. Arches National Park, Moab, Utah. Photo By Flap

The 2010 census is out and the South and West are among the winning states.

Republican-leaning states will gain at least a half dozen House seats thanks to the 2010 census, which found the nation’s population growing more slowly than in past decades but still shifting to the South and West.

The Census Bureau announced Tuesday that the nation’s population on April 1 was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade ago. The growth rate for the past decade was 9.7 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression. The nation’s population grew by 13.2 percent from 1990 to 2000.

Michigan was the only state to lose population during the past decade. Nevada, with a 35 percent increase, was the fastest-growing state.

The new numbers are a boon for Republicans, with Texas leading the way among GOP-leaning states that will gain House seats, mostly at the Rust Belt’s expense. Following each once-a-decade census, the nation must reapportion the House’s 435 districts to make them roughly equal in population, with each state getting at least one seat.

That triggers an often contentious and partisan process in many states, which will draw new congressional district lines that can help or hurt either party.

In all, the census figures show a shift affecting 18 states taking effect when the 113th Congress takes office in 2013.

Texas will gain four new House seats, and Florida will gain two. Gaining one each are Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

But, a lot of growth was from immigration and how the new people are assimilated, population growth accommodated (infrastructure provided) or if they can be are issues that will soon come to the forefront with the next Congress beginning next month.

The Rose Institute has an excellent analysis here.

California has picked up 10 Congressional seats since 1970, growing from 43 in the 1970s to 53 today. Seven of those ten came in one decade alone (after the 1990 census). California gained two districts in 1980, seven in 1990, and another seat in 2000. One contributor to California’s population surge between 1980 and 1990 was the Reagan administration’s large military build-up. The military growth boosted the California economy, which attracted immigration from throughout the country. Between 1980 and 1990, California’s population increased by about 6 million people. Alone among the otherwise high-growth southwestern states, in the past ten years California’s growth slowed to the national average.