This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Results from the 2010 US Census

Yesterday morning the US Census Bureau posted its first numbers from the complete count, short-form, 2010 census data. These are the constitutionally required numbers of the population by state, which are used to apportion seats in the US House of Representatives. As the New York Times notes:
According to the new counts, Texas will gain four seats, Florida will gain two, while New York and Ohio each lose two. Fourteen other states gained or lost one seat. The gainers included Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah; the losers included Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Not yet discussed anywhere, as nearly as I can tell, is that the census count is several million people larger than expected. As of yesterday, the Census Bureau's population clock on still showed slightly more than 305 million people, based on the demographic balancing equation which built on the 2000 census and then added births and immigrants while subtracting deaths and emigrants. However, the 2010 census count as of 1 April 2010 was 308.7 million, and the population clock has now been updated to December 2010 to show 310.5 million. Thus, there are about 5 million more people in the country than expected. This excess of observed over expected was also discovered after the 2000 census and the reason then, as almost certainly now, lies mainly with more undocumented immigrants than anticipated by the Census Bureau's estimating procedures. 

As a consequence of the larger count than expected, the number of seats that have shifted in the House of Representatives is also larger than expected. For example, based on American Community Survey data, Texas was expected to gain 3 seats and Florida 1 seat. In fact, Texas will gain 4 seats and Florida will gain 2. Much has been made in the press about the fact that the demographic gains have come largely in the "red" (Republican-leaning) states and the losses are concentrated in the "blue" (Democrat-leaning) states, with the irony being that the gains are due largely to the increase in the Latino population, which generally leans toward the Democratic party. This will all add more interest to the 2012 election season in the US.

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