Update: Census Data Released, Revealing Gain in House Seats for GOP
Today's release of the decennial Census data is good news for the GOP, as it will mean new House seats in a number of red states.
The country's 435 House seats are, of course, distributed by population, as determined by the Census. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Redistricting and demographic experts expect the big winner to be Texas, which is expected to gain three or four seats. The Republican governor and an overwhelmingly GOP legislature there will redraw the electoral map to their advantage, according to Election Data Services, a political consulting firm specializing in redistricting, and the Pew Center on the States, both nonpartisan entities.
There are some differences of opinion on what, if anything, this will mean for the 2012 election. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is confident that the changes won't herald "a dramatic shift that would be anything that anybody would be even remotely fearful of." However:
More significant might be the redistricting of House seats. Democrats would need to pick up 25 seats in 2012 to retake control under the current map, but if that jumps to 35 seats—as some estimate—Democratic odds would grow much longer.
Update: The Washington Examinerhas a good piece on just how complicated the math to parcel out House seats really is. It'll make your brain hurt.
Update #2: The data have been released by the Census Bureau, confirming and adding to the earlier estimations. Reports NPR:
Eight states will gain members in the House. They are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.
Ten states will lose members in the House. They are: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The data also reveal that the U.S. has just faced the slowest rate of population growth since the Great Depression:
The rate of growth is the slowest since the Great Depression years (when the population grew 7.3%). Census Director Robert Groves says about 60% of the increase was "natural" — from births. The other 40%, he says, was from immigration.