The U.S. Census Bureau has released the first official population numbers for the 2010 census. The population of the United States as of April 1, 2010 is 308,745,538. That is a 9.7% percent rise in population since the 2000 census. The figures, updated every 10 years, detail the residential population of the United States and specify the new distribution of seats in the House, based on population updates since the 2000 census.
The announcement also included those states which will gain or lose congressional seats. There is a shift of twelve congressional seats which effect 18 different states. Those states gaining congressional seats include; Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington. Those losing seats include: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Texas will gain four congressional seats.
This change is linked to the process of redistricting, in which each state redraws congressional district boundaries to make each district roughly equal in population, in some cases giving one party a significant electoral advantage. It can help determine who will control the House, state legislatures and even the presidency.
But the importance of redistribution of representation in a legislative body is not limited to House races. The number of seats assigned to each state can influence presidential races because they are used to determine representation in the electoral college.
The 2010 census could affect the presidential race by creating imbalances in the electoral college votes, and the composition of Congress based partly on the number of seats a state has in the House. It takes 270 electoral college votes to win the presidency.
The Census Bureau is required by law to release information pertaining to the national and state populations to the President by December 31.