Today's the day. At 8 a.m., Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will announce the first results of the 2010 Census -- the total state population counts.
Locke will also announce the results of reapportionment - how many members of Congress (and electoral votes) each state will have for the next decade. Will Oregon get a sixth seat? Will Washington get a tenth?
In 2007 and 2008, it looked like Oregon was going to get a sixth seat. But by 2009, things weren't looking quite so good. That said, estimates are just estimates - and the only thing that counts is the actual nose count from April 2010.
So, here we go. In less than an hour, we'll have an answer - and I'll update right here.
Update, 8:22 a.m.: The press conference is underway. For the first time, America has officially crossed the 300 million population threshold. We are now at 308 million residents, up from 281 million. Nevada grew 35%, while Michigan shrank by 0.6%. Oregon grew 12%, while Washington grew 14%. (The entire nation grew by 9.7%.) That puts Oregon at 3,848,606 residents, up from 3,421,399.
Update, 8:25 a.m.: It's official. Oregon will remain at five seats for a fourth decade. Washington, after just 20 years at nine seats, will move up to ten seats in Congress.
Update, 8:36 a.m.: Here's the full list: Texas gained 4 seats. Florida gained 2 seats. Gaining one seat each: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Washington and Utah. New York and Ohio each lost two seats. Losing one seat each: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Keep in mind that this will also have a huge impact on the 2012 presidential race. The states won by Barack Obama lost seven electoral votes, while the states won by John McCain gained those seven electoral votes.
Update, 8:43 a.m.: Starting in February, the Census will start to release detailed block-by-block counts that will make it possible for the Legislature to redraw both the congressional and legislative maps.
Update, 8:50 a.m.: The 435th seat was assigned to Minnesota. The state that just missed out on another seat was North Carolina -- by just 15,000 residents. (The census director noted that that's the largest gap between 435 and 436 in a half-century.)
No word just yet on how far down the list Oregon-6 appeared.
Update, 8:57 a.m.: The entire data dump is here.
Update, 9:02 a.m.: I just ran the population numbers through a reapportionment calculation. Oregon-6 came in at seat #442, or seven seats outside the threshold.
Based on the 2008 estimate, we were as high as #437. By my calculations then, if we had grown in 2009 and 2010 as we had in 2000-2008, we would have been at #435 - picking up that sixth seat. But by 2009, those same estimates had us down to #438. At that time, almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this - "If the 2009-2010 growth pattern matches this last year, we'll drop even further - down to #442." - and sure enough, that's exactly what happened.
That's it for the news. On the jump for more nerdiness about population numbers...
Some notes on the numbers:
The nation grew by 9.72%, while Oregon grew by 11.97%. That means that Oregon moved up from 1.218% of the nation's population to 1.243%.
By my estimate, Oregon would have picked up that sixth seat if we'd added 42,000 residents over the last ten years -- or a growth rate of 13.7%.
A bit of interesting trivia that the Census Director mentioned that I just realized matters somewhat: All the census numbers we usually talk about are the "resident population" numbers, but the apportionment population is slightly different: it includes all those people who are living abroad and employed by the federal government (military, diplomats, and a few others.) For non-apportionment purposes, those people are not included in the census. Neither count includes non-federal people, like missionaries, expatriates, etc. The number of non-resident military and others has been relatively small in the past, but with two wars underway, there are lots and lots of military and non-military federal personnel overseas right now -- more than one million, in fact. The difference for Oregon, for example, is that Oregon jumps from 3,831,074 residents to 3,848,606 for apportionment purposes - a jump of 17,532. (It turns out, however, that having just run the "resident" numbers through the reapportionment calculator, these numbers don't actually make any meaningful difference for reapportionment purposes.)
One last little tidbit: Since Oregon came so close to getting another seat, but fell short, it's worth noting that that means that Oregon will have more people per congressional district than many states. In fact, we'll have 766,215 people per member of Congress - while the national average will be 710,000. (Of course, Montana still has just one member - representing 989,415. And Rhode Island managed to get two - each representing 526,284. Unless and until we start redrawing state lines based on population, this is always going to happen.)
And because it's never too soon to start speculating, here's some thoughts on the 2020 census:
If Oregon continues to grow at the same pace over the next ten years as it did for the last ten, we'll shoot past four million residents - to 4.29 million.
If all 50 states maintain the exact same pace (haha), then Oregon will be RIGHT on the bubble. Oregon-6 will be seat #436. Obviously, there's a lot that will happen between now and then - so this is a story that we'll be watching for another decade to come.
And incidentally, here's how the rest of the nation would shake out if the 2000-2010 trend holds up from 2010 to 2020: Texas gains another three, while one more seat goes to Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia. New York would lose two, and you can subtract one from California, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. That would represent a shift of four more electoral votes from Obama states to McCain states. (One more thing: Take note of how many of those growing states have sizable Latino populations. Long-term political success will go to those who figure out how to appeal to Latino communities.)