The population in the United States grew by 9.7 percent over the last decade, marking one of the slowest growth rates since the Great Depression, according to figures released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.
As of April 1, the resident population of the United States reached 308,745,538.
Tuesday’s release is the first roll out of data the Census Bureau has released this year. Earlier this year, the population was asked to fill out surveys that would give the government an accurate count of everyone living in the United States — both legal and illegal.
“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.”
As directed in the constitution, a census of the population must be taken every 10 years so that, in part, the seats in the House of Representatives can be apportioned fairly. The 2010 census was the 23rd in the nation’s history.
“The decennial count has been the basis for our representative form of government since 1790,” Groves said. “At that time, each member of the House represented about 34,000 residents. Since then, the House has more than quadrupled in size, with each member now representing about 21 times as many constituents.”
Just before Tuesday’s announcement, Locke delivered the apportionment counts to President Barack Obama, 10 days before the statutory deadline of Dec. 31. President Obama will transmit the apportionment counts to the 112th Congress during the first week of its first regular session in January. The reapportioned Congress will be the 113th, which convenes in January 2013.
California is the most populous state in the union at more than 37 million, according to the census bureau. The least populous is Wyoming at 563,626.
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, by 1,722,862 and 2,534,225, respectively, according to the census bureau.
Texas had the largest numbers growth at more than 4 million. Nevada was the fastest growing state, followed by Arizona and Utah.
Michigan was the only state to have a negative growth rate.
Based on the count, California’s congressional delegation will remain unchanged, while Texas and Florida will gain the most seats, according to the census bureau.
This is the first time California has not gained a House seat since 1920, the census bureau reported.
According to the census bureau, 18 states will either gain or lose congressional seats, and 32 will remain the same.
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