Jan 10, 2011

Finally, Some Really Really Good News: At Least For Texas

lexington-development-us-censusThere has been precious little good news in America during the last two years.  While this isn't necessarily good news for everyone, it certainly is for the Lone Star State. The US Census Bureau has announced the US Population results from the 2010 Census and, along with the US population by state, the Census Bureau also announced the resultant shift in both Congressional seats and Electoral College votes due to migration of the US population. 
Eight states gain a total of 12 Congressional/Electoral seats, while ten states, primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, will lose seats. The big winner, for those of you who didn't venture a guess: Texas.  Continuing seven consecutive decades of growth, Texas picks up four new Congressional seats in 2012, the most for any state.  The other winners: Florida gains two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington each gain one.
The losers include Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All those states lost one seat apiece, save for New York and Ohio, which lost two each.
This shift is almost entirely from Blue States to Red States, as this population shift sets the stage for what will almost assuredly be additional Republican gains in Congress in 2012. It will certainly change the political landscape ahead of the 2012 presidential race, which in some respects, is already starting.  "The 2010 Census will serve as a backbone for our political and economic system for years to come," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.
The Census Bureau unveiled the first package of results from the 2010 head count during a press conference in Washington. Director Robert Groves used the ceremony to announce the official US population count as of April 2010 was 308,745,538 which is a 9.7 percent increase from a decade earlier.  This represents a slower growth rate than recorded in previous counts. The population in 2000 was 281.4 million.
But the regional population shifts are what matter to lawmakers looking to boost their party's numbers in Washington. The Census is used to shape state legislative seats and allocate the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. With growth in the South and West averaging about 14 percent, states in those regions are set to gain the most additional representation in Congress.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives, congratulated the Census Bureau for the work it did putting together the decennial count, and suggested the migration patterns show the Rust Belt is losing out to the Sun Belt because of better state and local opportunities.
The shift of seats out of Ohio and into Florida, both legendary swing states, means the Sunshine State could take on a bigger role as a presidential battleground in 2012. States that gain more seats will be worth more in the Electoral College -- meaning presidential candidates from both parties may be spending more time in the South and West than they did in the last election.
The Census numbers are also used to allocate billions in federal aid. Locke added that businesses can use the information to figure out where they want to invest.