US population hits 308.7m but rise slows: Census

The population of US grew 9.7% to 308.7 million since 2000, the slowest pace since 1940, according to latest census figures released.

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2010, 23:34 PM IST

Washington: The population of America
grew 9.7 per cent to 308.7 million since 2000, the slowest
pace since 1940, according to latest census figures
released on Wednesday.

The 2010 US Census Bureau figures said it was the
smallest growth in the US since the 1940 census, which pegged
population during the decade of the Great Depression.
It was 13.2 per cent in the 1990s. The US population
in 2000 was 281.4 million.

Census figures are politically sensitive in the US
as this is used to determine the number of seats a State can
have in the House of Representatives.

It is also used to determine federal aid to a State.
"The Census forms the backbone for our political and
economic systems for years to come," said Robert Groves,
director of the Census Bureau, announcing the census result at
the National Press Club.

Census results are favorable to the Republicans as
the States where they dominate stand to gain more seats in the
House of Representatives due to these latest figures.

The population count released by the US Census
Bureau confirmed long-held assumptions that the balance of
power in the country is titling away from Democratic
strongholds in the Northeast and Midwest to warmer states in
the Sunbelt, from Florida to Arizona, where Republicans hold
sway, The Wall Street Journal said.

The biggest gain, as expected, was the state of
Texas, which will have four new House seats.

The only other state netting more than one additional
seat is Florida, which was awarded two new seats today; The
Hill reported.

The biggest losers this round are the presidential
battleground state of Ohio and heavily Democratic New York
both states will lose two seats.

While another eight states will lose one seat
Illinois, New Jersey, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana,
Missouri and Massachusetts; six states are gaining just a
single seat Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah
and Washington state.

The recent recession resulted in a slowing
immigration rate, according to Carl Haub, a demographer with
the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based
non-profit.

"The population growth rate drop is largely because
of a couple percentage point dip in immigration," he told the
CNN.

"India`s technicians and engineers who came here
sent word back home that it`s hard now. The IT industry is not
the golden goose it`s been in the past," Haub told the CNN.

Despite the slowdown, the nation`s growth rate is
much higher than most developed countries.

The populations of Japan and Germany, for example,
are in decline, while France and the United Kingdom are
growing at a rate of five percent, it said.

PTI