First Census Numbers Released

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's a Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, Angelo Falcón, president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, discussed the national, state, and reapportionment data released by the U.S. Census today.


Every census shakes up the House of Representatives. Once data are collected, the government uses them to reapportion how many seats each state gets depending on whether their population grew or declined in the previous decade, and by how much. Here's how the 2010 Census will change things, with insight from Falcón:

  • Texas had the greatest population increase of any state since the 2000 Census. With 4.3 million new residents, Texas has been reapportioned four more seats in the House of Representatives. 

Though the Census has yet to release demographic data, it's expected that the increase is largely due to immigration. "There's so much anti-immigrant sentiment there, and yet their political clout grows precisely because of immigration," says Falcón. "There's an interesting irony there."

  • Florida gained two seats in the House of Representatives.
  • New York and Ohio each lost two seats.

"We lost clout in the Congress and New Jersey as well lost one seat, so that's an important issue and has implications in terms of redistricting and who are the two congresspeople who are going to lose those seats, because these are real people who are in office now...As the population shifts within the state, New York City continues to gain, upstate continues to lose population, so that's going to make this whole thing really interesting in terms of how they're going to work out the numbers with the politics. I don't think that the independent commission is going to happen. The legislature basically controls redistricting, and you'd have to have a change in the state constitution to change that process."

  • States gaining one seat: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.
  • States losing one seat: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"The Democratic Midwest and the Northeast lost population, the West and the South gained. There were all these projections that Republicans were going to dominate politics nationally because of that, but it's really hard to make these projections. There's a lot of other factors involved besides population."

It's A Free Country will be covering the impact of the new census numbers all week. For now, you can explore the widget below and see apportionment numbers through the years. The 2010 data should update sometime this morning.