The Tide - notes in the ebb and flow of news

The first 2020 Census numbers are in. There are 331,449,291 Americans and 10,711,906 of them live in Georgia.

The first data from the latest Census presentation, linked below, shows the U.S. grew at a rate of 7.4% over the last 10 years (the time period for Census taking in America). That’s the slowest pace of growth since the 1930 Census during The Great Depression.

Lots of people moved south since 2010: Southern states picked up 10% growth while other regions picked up much less. Population counts determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Census Bureau, which is in charge of these statistics, released a boatload of tables to show how apportionment works and historic norms.

For a complete visual presentation of Census changes since 1910, take a look at this. It puts a lot of percentages in perspective. For example, there are more people in Washington, D.C., than in Wyoming.

Our neighbor Florida gets a new Congressional seat, and even though the Peach State seems a lot more crowded these days, demographers say Georgia wasn’t even in the top 10 states closest to gaining enough population to get an additional rep.

In another loud example of why citizen participation in the Census matters: New York is 89 people short of retaining a Congressional seat. That’s why the government bombarded folks with Census reminders a good portion of last year — power and money in statehouses and the U.S. Capitol hinges on the number of seats representing you.

Texas was the fastest growing state in numbers and it gained two Congressional seats. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will pick up one seat each.

California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia lost one seat each. California gained population but had more people leaving than those moving in, so it lost a seat.

The average House of Representative member represents 781,169 — that more than 61,000 more people than 10 years ago. At some point, it bears considering if it’s time to expand the number of members of Congress. If you’re an earnest representative, three-quarters of a million people is a pretty large group to understand and advocate for.

The next data dump, designed for use by states and local entities for redistricting, arrives by Aug. 16 with the final breakdowns by Sept. 30. That’s when the real wrangling at local statehouses will begin.

Here’s the initial presentation and some media questions from the Census Bureau announcements. In short: The experts there feel very confident in the numbers and have a lot of checks for them. Take a look and see how it stacks up for you.

The Tide brings regular notes and observations on news and events by The Current staff.

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Susan Catron is managing editor for The Current GA. She has more than two decades of experience in Georgia newspapers. Susan served as executive editor of the Savannah Morning News for nearly 15 years,...