Highlighted Site of the Week – The U.S. Census - State and Federal Communications

February 11, 2011  •  

Highlighted Site of the Week – The U.S. Census

Last December, the U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2010 Census. Officially, there are 308,745, 538 people living in the United States. The number is quite important in deciding where federal and state funding will go and also in deciding U.S. congressional apportionment – the process of dividing the 435 congressional seats among the 50 states based on each states’ population as counted in the census.

Wondering how your state fared in the 2010 Census? The U.S. Census Bureau published an interactive map of the census data and the Apportionment data. Our state, Ohio, lost two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives this time around.

The apportionment process is mandated in the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 2 and then superseded in Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment. By the way, when they first began the apportionment process in 1790, there were 4 million people living in the U.S. and the ratio was 33,000 people per congressional district. Now it is estimated that there are 700,000 citizens per congressional district.

Lobby Comply reader Nancy Messmore pointed me in the direction of the U.S. Census Bureau and the 2010 Census results. As a librarian, she pointed out that the U.S. Census Bureau has a partnership program and the American Library Association (ALA) was one of the key partners. Thanks to this program, the 2010 Census became more of a grassroots effort and less of a top-down government task. Thanks to the partner organizations, the 2010 Census was able to boast of a 74% mail-back participation rate. The ALA offers a great fact sheet for educators (and one for communities) about the census and its importance.

If you are wondering how the U.S. congressional apportionment is calculated, it is easy, really. Here is the formula. Well, alright, maybe not so easy.

Instead, here is a video by the U.S. Census Bureau explaining the process:

Take care and have a good weekend!

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