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American Census by the Numbers


The response to the 2010 Census was better than expected, with 74% of American households filling out and returning their census forms in the mail. But what does this mean for you and your community? After all, you may only know a census as a tool for researching your family tree. While the census does chronicle the American population and its growth, it is used for more concrete purposes.

The census serves two major purposes for your state:

  1. The results help decide how seats in the US House of Representatives are apportioned
  2. The results also decide how nearly $400 billion in money for hospitals and schools will be spent

So if your state is among those with a high rate of participation, you are more likely to be well-represented in Congress and have a better chance at federal funding for community projects.

Which states had the highest participation rates in the country for 2010?

  • Wisconsin (82%)
  • Minnesota (81%)
  • Indiana (79%)
  • Iowa (79%)

Which states had the lowest census return rates for 2010?

  • New Mexico (65%)
  • Louisiana (65%)
  • West Virginia (65%)

The census is, of course, a tool for tracking population growth and ebbs in the United States.

According to the 2010 Census, the states with the highest percentage of change were:

  • Nevada, with a population change of over 25%
  • Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Texas, with changes between 20% and 24.9%

Michigan was the only state in the union with a 0% change in population. The rest of the states experienced a change between 1% and 19.9%.

The population of the entire country has undergone a dramatic growth since 1910. According to the 1910 census, the population of the United States was 92 million. By 2010, the population has grown to 310 million. This growth has been steady, at least according to the census data posted every ten years; there have been no decades in which the growth suddenly spiked, and certainly the population of the United States has never decreased.

So what does all this data mean for various states in the Union?

Well, because of the recent changes in population, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Texas can expect the biggest changes in US House of Representatives apportionment. But nearly every state in the union will expect some change, except for Michigan, which experienced no change in population.

But as far as federal funding goes, it remains to be seen which states can expect a larger amount of funding for schools and hospitals. In the states that had the largest amount of participation Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin may receive a larger share simply because they returned the greatest number of census reports. But again, these decisions are made on other factors as well, so it will be interesting to see which states receive the highest amounts of funding.

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