It’s official. Georgia’s population growth over the past decade to nearly 9.7 million residents has resulted in the addition of another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, bringing the state’s representation to 14 seats. The election for that new seat will occur in 2012.
According to the results of the 2010 census released last week, Georgia’s population in April was listed at 9,687,653, an 18.3 percent increase over the 2000 population when the population was 8.186 million. And that increase in population, along with seven others in the southern and western states, translates into a gain of 12 House seats.
Like many of the Sunbelt states, Georgia’s population increased dramatically during the past few decades. Back in 1960 the state was home to only 3.9 million people. By 1980 that number had risen to approximately 5.5 million and, by 1990, approximately 6.5 million called Georgia home. The state’s largest jump in population came in the decade following 1990. Gaining 26.4 percent in population between 1990 and 2000, Georgia’s population rose to 8.186 million in the 2000 census.
Corresponding to the rise in population was the number of Georgia’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The state held 10 House seats from 1930 until 1990 when an 11th seat was added. The increases in population resulted in the addition of two more seats after the 2000 census. And with the results of the 2010 census the state will add its 14th seat, with each House member representing nearly 700,000 citizens.
“I am pleased to see that the great state of Georgia will have another voice in Congress,” said Third District Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. “The population growth in the state has been very significant and gaining a new member will be a great benefit for the people of Georgia.”
Reapportionment efforts will begin in 2011 and will be the subject of the 2012 elections, in time for the convening of the 113th Congress in January 2013.
“When it comes to drawing new maps, the most important thing to remember is that a fair map is a good map,” stated Westmoreland. “It’s impossible to keep the politics out of redistricting, but if people try to overreach, they will just end up with a drawn-out and costly redistricting process like we had in Georgia last time.”
Westmoreland said the full and complete census data will not be released until April 2011. Once that happens, state legislatures or commissions can begin the process of determining the makeup of the new state and federal districts, Westmoreland said.
The Sunbelt and Western states were the big winners in the 2010 Census and in the upcoming apportionment of House seats. Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Washington each gained one House seat while Florida gained two seats and Texas gained four.
The losers, with the exception of Louisiana, were in the Northeast and Midwest. New York and Ohio each lost two House seats while Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Louisiana each lost one seat.