US census 2010 shows growth favours Republican states
Posted on: 22 Dec 2010
The official population of the United States is now 308,745,538. The population of the United States grew 9.7% to 308.7 million people over the past decade -- the slowest rate of growth since the Great Depression -- the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.
This is the first time the Census Bureau has released data from the population surveys filled out earlier this year. And the counts include everyone -- not just citizens or legal immigrants -- even people who are in the country illegally.
In the 1930s, the population grew by just 7.3%. Comparatively, the nation added 13.2% more residents during the 1990s. The law requires the Census to report the official population counts -- both national and by state -- to the President before Jan. 1.
The Census figures will be used to reapportion the 435 seats in the U.S. Congress among the 50 states. The numbers trigger a high-stakes process wherein the dominant party in each state redraws the election map, shaping the political landscape for the next 10 years. The new numbers will represent a gain for Republicans as population growth in their electoral bases like Texas give them more seats.
The results were seen as a blow to Obama and a win for Republicans because most of the states losing electoral votes and seats in the House of Representatives, such as New York, Massachussetts and New Jersey, lean toward or are heavily Democratic while many of the ones gaining seats, such as Texas and Arizona, are Republican strongholds.
The 2010 census also shows America's once-torrid population growth dropping to its lowest level in seven decades.
The new number, based on the surveys taken on April 1, 2010, is a 9.7 percent increase over the last census, 281.4 million residents in 2000.
The U.S. is still growing quickly relative to other developed nations. The population in France and England each increased roughly 5 percent over the past decade, while in Japan the number is largely unchanged and in Germany the population is declining. China grew at about 6 percent; Canada's growth rate is roughly 10 percent.
The declining growth rate since 2000 is due partly to the economic meltdown in 2008, which brought U.S. births and illegal immigration to a near standstill compared with previous years. The 2010 count represents the number of people — citizens as well as legal and illegal immigrants — who called the U.S. their home on April 1 this year.
Census Bureau director Robert Groves said that natural replacement accounted for about 60% of the growth this past decade while immigration made up the remaining 40%. But growth slowed dramatically because the birth rate fell during the decade and fewer people moved to the U.S.
The country's fertility rate is nearly 2.1 children per woman, just about the natural replacement rate, according to data from the United Nations World Population Prospects. That is down from the baby-boom years, when it hit a peak of 3.7, but above most developed countries.
The most populous state was California (37,253,956); the least populous, Wyoming (563,626).
The 2010 census results also are used to distribute more than $400 billion in annual federal aid and will change each state's Electoral College votes beginning in the 2012 presidential election.