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US census shows West and South gaining the most population and clout

Friday, December 24th 2010 - 07:42 UTC
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California the most populous state with 37, 25 million California the most populous state with 37, 25 million

The United States Census Bureau announced that the 2010 Census showed the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538. The resident population represented an increase of 9.7%over the 2000 U.S. resident population of 281,421,906.

“A big thanks to the American public for its overwhelming response to the 2010 Census,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “The result was a successful count that came in on time and well under budget, with a final 2010 Census savings of 1.87 billion US dollars”.

Rebecca Blank, now Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce who has overseen the 2010 Census as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, echoed Locke. “The 2010 Census was a massive undertaking, and in reporting these first results, we renew our commitment to our great American democracy peacefully, fairly and openly for the 23rd time in our nation's history.”

The US resident population represents the total number of people in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The most populous state was California (37,253,956); the least populous, Wyoming (563,626). The state that gained the most numerically since the 2000 Census was Texas (up 4,293,741 to 25,145,561) and the state that gained the most as a percentage of its 2000 Census count was Nevada (up 35.1% to 2,700,551).

Regionally, the South and the West picked up the bulk of the population increase, 14,318,924 and 8,747,621, respectively. But the Northeast and the Midwest also grew: 1,722,862 and 2,534,225.

Additionally, Puerto Rico's resident population was 3,725,789, a 2.2 percent decrease over the number counted a decade earlier.

The overall growth, driven by an increase in Hispanic residents, was the weakest in seven decades as the worst recession since the Great Depression stunted immigration. The latest U.S. population count shows the nation’s demographic centre of gravity continued to shift, advancing a decades-old movement of people and political clout away from the Northeast and Midwest.

“This is the first decade, I point out, that the Western region is larger than the Midwest region,” Groves said. “The West region, these states that came last into the Union, sparsely settled, that’s filling up in a way that we’ve never seen before.”

When Obama was born in 1961, more than half the nation – 54% -- lived in the Midwest and Northeast. Now, midway through his first term, 39% live there, the census data show.

The population counts mark the start of a new look at America from the census. The data will be used by the government to distribute more than 400 billion USD in annual federal funding, by businesses to identify markets, and by social scientists to examine the changing demographics.

In the broader, global context, Groves said the slower pace of population growth in the U.S. is similar to Europe’s and those of other advanced economies.

“It turns out it’s happening in most developed societies around the world,” he said. “It has to do with lower fertility rates.”

The US has the lowest median age of any of the Group of Seven nations, according to United Nations’ estimates for 2010. Youthfulness is one variable for future growth because younger people tend to have more children.

Categories: Politics, United States.

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