Republican-leaning states all across the South and West will gain congressional seats based on the results of the 2010 Census, according to population counts released Tuesday, a shift that will likely result in a change of strategy by political groups hoping to maximize in 2012.
The Census Bureau announced that eight states will gain a total of 12 seats, while 10 states — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest — will lose seats. The population shift sets the stage for potential GOP gains in Congress in 2012, while changing the political landscape ahead of a 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 theÂ 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 U.S. population count as of April 2010 — 308,745,538. The number marks a 9.7 percent increase from a decade earlier, 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.