Census live

Update: Minnesota will not lose any seats in Congress.

The Census Bureau is presenting its results of the 2010 census, including how the population shift may/may not affect states’ representation in Congress, at 10 a.m. CT.

Online, you can participate here. Questions can also be submitted via Twitter to @USCensusBureau. When the data becomes ‘live,” you can play with it with this online widget.

9:52 a.m. – As we wait to begin, here’s some reading. Congress.org considers three states likely to be hurt the most: Louisiana (they lost a lot of the population when Katrina hit), Ohio, and Michigan.

9:55 a.m. – If you can’t get through via the Census Bureau link above, CSPAN-3 has it here.

10:02 a.m. – Dr. Robert Groves will be conducting the bulk of the presentation. Several questions will be taken via Twitter, which didn’t exist 10 years ago, of course. They’re starting with some produced video propaganda.

10:07 a.m. – Groves begins. Introduces an undersecretary who talks about the “team” that pulled all of this together, which few people watching today care about. Give us the numbers! “We cannot be a representative government without apportioning representatives based on population,” Commerce Undersecretary Becky Locke says. She notes that the Census asked only four more questions than it asked in 1790.

10:12 a.m. – Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaking. Back-patting: He notes the census was delivered on time and under budget and calls out naysayers in much the same way local meteorologists said “I told you so” after the snowstorm a week ago.

10:15 a.m. – Seventy-four percent of households returned census by mail.

10:21 a.m. – Dr. Groves is back with the numbers. This production should’ve been produced by the Survivor producers. They’re better at announcing who’s getting voted off the island.

10:22 a.m. – U.S. population is 308,745,538. The room applauds. Good job procreating, apparently is their message. It’s about a 9 percent increase over 10 yeas ago.

10:24 a.m. – More growth in the south and West. Northeast grew 3.2%. Midwest grew by 3.9%. The south grew by 14.3%. The west grew by 13.8%

10:25 a.m. – Nevada grew by 35%. Michigan is the country’s basket case. Ten years ago, no state lost population. South Dakota grew by 7.9%.

10:26 a.m. – Now turning to representation in Congress. Since 1940, there’s been a net shift of 79 seats to the South and West. 12 seats will shift in 18 states.

Gaining: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington.

Losing: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Minnesota keeps its seats!

10:30 a.m. – Between 1950 and 1960, the high growth rate of 18.5% reflected the Baby Boom. The percentage growth this last decade is the second-lowest of the past century. Where’s the “center” of the country, population way. In 1790, it was in Kent County, Maryland. In 2000, it was in southern Missouri. The new center hasn’t been computed yet. It may move into Arkansas.

10:32 a.m. – This is the first decade in history that the West region is more populated than the Midwest. In 1910, four of the five most populous states were in the Northeast and Midwest. New York is the only state that has been ranked among the five largest in each decade. Now, the top five are: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

10:33 a.m. – The least populated states are: Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota.

10:34 a.m. – The fastest-growing states are: Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Texas.

10:37 a.m. – The most crowded states: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland.

The least crowded states: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.


Q: What do you attribute the slow growth in Louisiana to and how much of an impact was Hurricane Katrina?

A: We’ve looked at the numbers for only a few days. The growth in any state has yet to be discovered in terms of the root causes.

Q: What is the significance of the population center?

A: If everyone weighed the same amount, where would the center be? The value is it teaches us how we’ve changed as a country. This movement south and west is a simple way to know how we’ve changed.

Q: Is growth from immigration or rate of births?

A: Sixty percent is due to natural increases, forty percent from immigration.

Q: How much of California is immigration vs. natural birth?

A: We don’t know.

Q: What’s the budget for Census?

A: About $7.4 billion. About $1.7 billion was returned.

Q: Were undocumented residents included in the census?

A: We count residents, whether they are citizens or not. There was no question on the census form asking about citizenship.

Q: Will there be a point at which the Census Bureau will consider increasing the number of congressional districts and will that require an act of Congress?

A: The size of Congress is a matter for Congress.

Q: There was a low response rate in New Mexico. What did the census do about that?

A: Any household that did not return the questionnaire was followed up. That amounted to 47 million households. We visited each as many as six times. At the end of the process, for every household on our master address file, we have a resolution — a population count. The census as much as we can know from our operations, is complete in all those areas.

Q: Is the male-to-female ratio changing?

A: We don’t know yet.

Q: Which states were next in line for seats in Congress?

A: The 435th seat was assigned to Minnesota. (Yikes! Minnesota was that close to losing a seat!) Had Minnesota lost 15,000 people, the seat would have gone to North Carolina.

Q: How did the recession affect the growth rate?

A: It’s an assertion by historians that the Great Depression depressed the growth rate. Teasing out the marginal rate vs. all the other things that were happening in that decade is as hard as answering the question. A lot of developed countries around the world are slowing their growth rate. Part of that may be the recession. We’ll never know for sure.

Q: Could you confirm whether the overseas military and federal civilian population in state totals affected the apportioning to Congress?

A: No.

Q: What would be the process after the count to be able to have an estimate of the undocumented population?

A: Article I Section II of the Constitution says that Congress specifies how the census is conducted. Our other surveys ask about country of origin and we ask other questions. None of the surveys we do ask about the documentation of non-citizens.

Q: There was speculation New York would lose one House seat, not two. How close was it?

A: I don’t know

Q: What do you know about those without housing? The homeless, that you were not able to sent a census form to? Is there reason to believe this census is more or less accurate than in the past?

This is the third census that we’ve had a deliberate approach for the homeless. We had three separate operations that were the culmination of a lot of outreach to help us locate where the homeless tended to congregate — soup kitchens and shelters — or outdoor locations. We made a massive effort to count the homeless. Those counts were added in and are part of the numbers we just released. We don’t publish separate counts of the homeless, nor are there plans to do so. This is one of the toughest challenges of the Census Bureau. We think we’re relatively successful when there are homeless grouped together. A homeless person in a tent in Wyoming, we may not be able to get.

Q: Utah went to court in 2000 over not counting overseas missionaries. What about this year?

A: Those out of the country were not counted as part of the census operation. Utah gained a seat this time. There was no serious reconsideration of the counting procedures for missionaries. Would the seat allocation be different if we’d counted them? I don’t know.

Q: How can we find information on minority groups in each state?

A: Those files will be posted in February.

Q: How did you handle Hurricane Katrina?

A: We count people where they usually live. People are moving back to the area. But while other people living elsewhere still consider themselves Louisianans, we count them where they live.

Q: Why is Idaho growing. Are people from the Northeast moving there?

A: We share the speculation and we can’t wait to dive into the data. Demographers are working on the answers to the questions, but we don’t know them yet.

This concludes the census data dump.

  • John O.

    Good grief. The self-aggrandizing is almost as bad as the warmup to LeBron’s ESPN “The Decision.” Bring on the data!

  • Bob Collins

    That’s funny. I was just thinking the same thing.

  • Dave Peters

    “A: If everyone weighed the same amount, where would the center be? The value is it teaches us how we’ve changed as a country. This movement south and west is a simple way to know how we’ve changed.”

    Just wondering where the population center would be if we used what people really weigh.

  • John O.

    (Sorry Dave, I can’t resist) Probably at a location somewhere near an Old Country Buffet.