2010 Census: Republicans Win

Red States should gain 10 seats while Blue States should lose eight.

The 2010 Census results are in and the big news seems to be slower than usual growth.  AP:

Census estimates provided this month based on birth and death records place the 2010 count somewhere between 305.7 million and 312.7 million, up from 281.4 million in 2000. That range means U.S. growth over the previous decade would be at a slower pace than the 13.2 percent increase from 1990 to 2000.
Demographers believe the official 2010 count will be 308.7 million or lower, putting U.S. growth at around 9 percent, the lowest since the 1940 census. That is the decade in which the Great Depression slashed the population growth rate by more than half, to 7.3 percent.
The U.S. is still growing quickly relative to other developed nations. The population in France and England each increased roughly 5 percent over the past decade, while in Japan the number is largely unchanged and in Germany the population is declining. China grew at about 6 percent; Canada’s growth rate is roughly 10 percent.

But, of course, the main reason we conduct a Census is to apportion seats for the House of Representatives.  (The secondary original purpose, allocating for the head tax, being obviated by the 16th Amendment.)  CNN projects:

Texas is expected to be a big winner in the process.

An estimate by Election Data Services, a political consulting firm that specializes in redistricting, suggests that Texas will likely gain four congressional seats, with Florida adding as many as two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington state possibly each gaining a seat.

According to the estimate, Ohio and New York could be the big losers, with each state likely losing two seats.

Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania may each lose a seat.

This should be good news for Republicans, since all the gaining states but Nevada and Washington are pretty solidly Red and all the losing states but Louisiana and Missouri are solidly Blue.  Ohio and New York are a wash.

What matters isn’t so much the way the states typically go in presidential elections but rather which party controls their state legislatures.  The outcomes in last month’s elections, though, more closely align the two, with Republicans taking control of otherwise Red states long after they’d gone that way in presidential and senatorial contests.

UPDATE: Here’s a more interesting depiction of the winners and losers, adapted from a giant interactive graphic at the NYT.

Which states won and lost Congressional seats in 2010 Census

The upshot: Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Utah all have GOP control of both the governorship and state legislature. For that matter, so do Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — meaning they’ll draw the lines to skew Republican notwithstanding losing seats.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ponce says:

    I thought Texas was close to becoming a Blue state due to a large influx of Hispanic voter.

  2. Tano says:

    Yes, and most, or a large part at least, of the population increase in Texas is from Latinos. So the fact they will have 4 more seats does not mean they will have 4 more Republicans.

  3. RGardner says:

    Washington isn’t in the blue camp here as it one of 7 states where the legislature is not directly involved in redistricting. An independent commission of 2 Dems and 2 Reps, plus a non-voting chairman is in charge. Of course it will be partisan, but no voting advantage to either party. Three of the 4 have to agree.

    The likely result is that incumbents become even more protected and the new district will be a swing district. Locals pundits are guessing the new district will be centered around the state capital, Olympia (Dem), with lots of rural (Rep).

  4. Trumwill says:

    I thought Texas was close to becoming a Blue state due to a large influx of Hispanic voter.

    Somebody forgot to tell the Texas voters that.

    I agree with Tano that it will probably be difficult to shoe-in four GOP districts, but they will probably be able to manage three. And, of course, they’ll get the EVs.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Consistent with ponce’s and Tano’s comments above, I think we need to recall that there is no Brezhnev Doctrine in American politics. Just because a state has voted Republican over a period of years doesn’t make it a rule of nature.

    The real question is how the states gaining and losing seats will be re-districted. As the late Mayor Daley once put it one map-drawer is worth 1,000 precinct workers.

  6. Steven Donegal says:

    The thought of 4 more Louie Gohmert’s in Congress, while great fodder for comedians, doesn’t bode well for the Republic.

  7. Trumwill says:

    Just because a state has voted Republican over a period of years doesn’t make it a rule of nature.

    Well yeah, they’re going to have to fight not to lose the states they have (and after 2008, to gain a few back), but that’s always the case (and for Democrats as well). Now it’s the case that even if they don’t gain ground in terms of party support, they’ll gain a little bit through the new map without much trying even required.

    The real question is how the states gaining and losing seats will be re-districted.

    Which is why Joyner’s point about the state legislatures is significant.

  8. PD Shaw says:

    Republicans won two Hispanic-majority districts in Texas this year, with what I believe were anti-immigration reform platforms. Hispanic politics are not the same from state-to-state.

  9. marriageman says:

    Hispanics are slowly becoming more balanced in terms of voting. Close to 40 percent of hispanics now vote Republican. That’s partly because issues like overtaxation and too much government are important issues to everyone. And people are also starting to realize that there’s nothing wrong with expecting people to go through the proper channels to obtain citizenship. Look at other countries (like Mexico) and you’ll see that they require the same thing or even more (like Mexico). So hispanics in Texas are probably much closer to 50/50 or even favoring Republicans.