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January 6, 2011

Census Reveals 7% Population Growth in Missouri - But Not Enough to Prevent Loss of Congressional Seat

Missouri's population grew by 7 percent to nearly 6 million in the last decade, according to 2010 Census data released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census, required every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution, reveals the total population of the United States and each state. The information is used to determine the number of Congressional seats in each state, as well as the amount of federal aid each state receives.

Total U.S. population grew by 9.7 percent, increasing from 281,421,906 in 2000 to 308,745,538 in 2010.

Missouri's population grew by 7 percent, far outpacing the Midwest's overall population growth of 3.9 percent. However, that growth was not enough for Missouri to retain all nine of its Congressional seats.

"Although Missouri's population has continued to grow over last decade, it did not grow as fast when compared to other parts of the country, which resulted in the loss of one Congressional seat," said Kelvin Simmons, Commissioner of the Office of Administration for the State of Missouri. "We are disappointed that we were unable to maintain all nine Congressional seats. But the population gain is a clear indication that Missouri is a great place to live and do business, and reflects our outstanding quality of life."

Missouri is one of 10 states that will lose a Congressional seat. The others are: Illinois; Iowa; Louisiana; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Michigan and Massachusetts.

"Today's census announcement confirms that Missouri is a growing state," said Governor Jay Nixon. "While our growth rate of 7 percent over the past 10 years far exceeds the growth rate across the Midwest, we unfortunately fell short of the benchmark for keeping nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the coming months, the General Assembly will begin the important process of redrawing congressional district lines, and that process must move forward openly, transparently and fairly."

The Census results also will determine redistricting - the process of revising the geographic boundaries within a state from which people elect their representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislature, county or city council, and school board.

Shortly after the release of the 2010 census data, state Rep. John J. Diehl Jr., R-Town and Country, held a press conference in his capitol office to discuss the new population numbers and the process that will take place in the coming months to draw new boundaries for the eight remaining congressional seats. As the chairman of the House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting, Diehl will lead the efforts in the Missouri House to use the new census data to create the new congressional district map for the state.

"This is just a preliminary picture of the complete data set we will receive in a few months but it clearly spells out the daunting task we have ahead of us with reapportionment. Losing a seat makes our job that much more difficult but I am confident we will have a process that is fair and equitable and ensures adequate representation for all Missourians," said Diehl.

Reapportionment is a process that has occurred every 10 years since 1787. The 435 seats of the United States House of Representatives will be divided up among the 50 states based on population data provided by the 2010 census. This marks the first time since 1981 that Missouri has lost a congressional seat. Reapportionment that year was a contentious process that ultimately ended up in court. Diehl said he is sure the legislature can work together this time to avoid repeating history.

"We would have preferred to keep all nine seats but we have to play with the hand we've been dealt. The Speaker has tasked us with handling this important process in an open and transparent manner and that's exactly what we plan to do," said Diehl.

Missouri's current nine Congressional Districts include the following: 1st District held by Rep. William "Lacy" Clay, Jr.; 2nd District held by Rep. Todd Akin; 3rd District held by Rep. Russ Carnahan; 4th District held by Rep. Ike Skelton (Rep.-elect Vicky Hartzler); 5th District held by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver; 6th District held by Rep. Sam Graves; 7th District held by Senator-elect Roy Blunt (Rep.-elect Billy Long); 8th District held by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson; and the 9th District held by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer.

Diehl said the House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting will hold public hearings when the legislature convenes in January. The final population data that will be used for creating the new map of Missouri's Congressional districts is expected to be released by the Census Bureau in February or March of 2011.

Census data also determines the distribution of federal dollars back to communities. About 74 percent of all Missouri households reported to the Census Bureau, the U.S. average.

Scotland County had a mail participation rate of 67%-72% for the 2010 census.

For more Census information, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/index.php.


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