The Census Bureau unveiled its population data used to draft congressional and state legislative district lines on Thursday, teeing up redistricting battles across the country that could set the stage over which party has an electoral edge in controlling the House ahead of the midterm election cycle.
In addition to the detailed data being used for redistricting purposes, it also plays a role in how $1.5 trillion in federal spending will be allocated over the next decade.
The long-awaited figures showed population growth at its second lowest rate in history, increasing by just 7.4 percent over the last 10 years. While overall growth slowed, minority communities were shown to have driven the majority of gains in the United States, with Non-Hispanic whites making up just under 58 percent of the population, down from 63.7 percent in 2010.
Hispanic or Latin Americans grew by 23 percent over the last decade, making up 18.7 percent of the country. The Asian American community also saw significant growth, with a nearly 20 percent increase since 2010 and the number of Black Americans increasing by 2 million.
While Non-Hispanic whites remained the largest racial group in the U.S., the population has decreased by 8.6 percent since 2010.
“Today’s release of 2020 Census redistricting data provides a new snapshot of the racial and ethnic composition and diversity of the country,” Nicholas Jones, director and senior advisor for race and ethnicity research and outreach at the Census Bureau, said in the release.
“The improvements we made to the 2020 Census yield a more accurate portrait of how people self-identify in response to two separate questions on Hispanic origin and race, revealing that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”
Shifts in migration were seen toward the South and the West, with the Midwesten and North Eastern states seeing a decline since 2010. It was also found that there has been an increase in people migrating toward urban areas and suburbs, rising to 86.3 percent while those living in rural areas dropped by 2.8 percentage points.
“Many counties within metro areas saw growth, especially those in the south and west. However, as we’ve been seeing in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to,” Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the Census Bureau, said in a statement upon the release of the report.
“This decline is evident at the local level where around 52 percent of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations.”
The fastest growing metropolitan area in the country was found to be The Villages, a 55-plus community northwest of Orlando, Fla., which saw its population grow by 39 percent over the last decade.
With the new data, Republicans could see an advantage, with shifts in population and state legislatures in key swing states holding jurisdiction over certain states, many of which hold jurisdiction over redrawing the congressional lines.
With the population shifts, Texas is set to gain two seats, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Montana and Oregon will each gain one seat while California, New York, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois are each slated to lose one congressional district.