The Census Bureau on Tuesday released the first numbers from this year's national census — "[rearranging] the country's political map," says The New York Times. Thanks to population shifts from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and the West, several states will be redistricted to account for the changing headcounts, a process with "far reaching implications for political life cycles over the next decade." Here, a list of the winners and losers from the 2010 Census:
"All the gaining states but Nevada and Washington are pretty solidly Red, and all the losing states but Louisiana and Missouri are solidly Blue," says James Joyner at Outside The Beltway. That spells "good news for Republicans." But the fact that population gains in the South and West were "driven overwhelmingly by minorities, particularly Hispanics," could give the Democrats "potential advantages" in some districts, counters The New York Times.
"Texas will gain four new members of Congress," reports Jeannie Kever in the Houston Chronicle, the biggest gain of any state, to add to its 32. The Lone Star state's population grew by 20.6 percent in the last decade — thanks, in part, to a "surging Hispanic population."
The Sunshine State will gain two new seats in Congress, reports Reid Wilson in the National Journal, boosting the Sun Belt's influence in Washington. Alas, the state's 18 percent population growth wasn't quite as high as expected, reports WUSF.com. Some had predicted Florida would "overtake New York as the nation's third most populous state."
The population of the District of Columbia, now at 600,000 residents, grew for the first time in 60 years, reports Carol Morello in The Washington Post. The key factors: "A real estate boom" and the expansion of the federal government that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The headcount is still well below the city's peak population of 802,000 in 1950, though.
"This is about as bad as it could get for Democrats," says Dave Weigel at Slate. The party's caucus will now see "internal warfare in the rust belt and Northeast," where shrinking populations in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania will force representatives "into Thunderdome battle for the diminished number of seats."
While Democrats in general are damaged by the census, says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post, it "hurts Obama" most of all. "In total, this census takes six electoral votes from Barack Obama's 2008 haul." Obviously, such a shift would have been "meaningless in the context of 2008, when Obama won by 192 electoral votes," says Shane D'Aprile at The Hill. But it could be a "decisive margin" if 2012 is a close contest.
The Empire State will lose two of its 27 seats in the House, leaving it "with the smallest Congressional delegation it has had in 200 years," reports Raymond Hernandez in The New York Times. The population grew by only a marginal 2 percent, meaning that in 2020, the state will likely be overtaken by Florida as the third most populous in the union.
Population grew by only 9.7 percent in the last decade, giving the U.S. a headcount of 308,745,538. That's the slowest growth since the 1930s, according to Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. And if our growth slows to a halt, says Jacob Heilbrunn at the National Interest, "the Social Security system and a host of other government programs are going to go under." Perhaps the president should suggest a "population increase program" as Germany did a few years ago, "offering special subsidies for parents to have three or more children."