December 21, 2010
Population growth has been good in Virginia, just not good enough to gain an extra seat in Congress.
U.S. Census figures released Tuesday show Virginia's 2010 population surpassed 8 million residents for the first time. The number of residents grew by 922,509, or 13 percent, from the 2000 Census.
Virginia has now seen double-digit growth in population in eight straight decades. But Virginia's total in the U.S. House will remain at 11 seats for the third straight decade. However, Isaac Wood, of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, believes the new numbers will spell significant changes for the state.
"It will still have to go through redistricting where all the districts within Virginia have their lines redrawn to ensure that each district has the same population as the other districts," he said.
Virginia hasn't seen an increase in congressional seats since improving by one after the 1990 Census, and that was only the second increase since 1940.
University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies director Larry Sabato says long-term projections suggest Virginia could get another congressional seat in 2020. He says Virginia's population growth appears to be greater than the national average.
States gaining house seats include Texas (4), Florida (2), and one each for Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. Those losing seats are New York (2), Ohio (2), and one each for Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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