New Jersey’s population grew by almost 500,000 people in the last decade, enough for the state to keep all 12 of its congressional seats, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Monday.
The 2020 Census put the state’s population at 9,288,994, up 497,100, or 6%, over the 2010 figure of 8,791,894.
New Jersey remains the 11th most populous state, ahead of Virginia, which has 8,631,393 people.
Overall, the U.S. population increased to 331.4 million, but the 7.4% increase over 2010 was the second-lowest ever, ahead of only the 7.3% growth from 1930 to 1940 in the midst of the Great Depression.
California remains the nation’s most populous state, with 39.5 million people. Wyoming is the least populous with 576,851.
New Jersey’s percentage growth was slower than the national average, but robust enough to allow the state to keep all of its 12 House members. Neighboring New York and Pennsylvania, in contrast, each lost one seat.
New Jersey state lost a seat following the 2010 census, and as late as 1982 sent 15 representatives to Congress.
Besides New York and Pennsylvania, states losing one seat include California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. Texas is gaining two House members and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon are getting one apiece.
Each House member will represent an average of 761,169 people.
Delivery of the data was delayed as the Census Bureau conducted the constitutionally required count in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, former President Donald Trump had sought to reject more than 200 years of precedent and exclude unauthorized immigrants from the count used to apportion congressional seats and draw districts for House members and state legislators.
Trump’s attempt was dropped after Joe Biden became president and the Census Bureau never provided an accurate count of unauthorized immigrants.
Not only did New Jersey not lose a House seat this time, the state was the 10th in line to receive an additional seat had there been more than 435 to hand out, according to Census Bureau calculations.
While all 12 House members from New Jersey can stand for re-election without being pushed into a race against another incumbent, their districts could look different next year. The Census Bureau in the coming months will release more detailed information for the state’s redistricting commission to use in redrawing 12 districts of approximately equal population.
Texas is the biggest winner in House seats because it gained about 4 million new residents over the decade. The highest percentage increase in population was in Utah, which went up 18.4% to 3,271,616.
Three states lost population: West Virginia, down 59,278 people, or 3.2%; Mississippi, down 6,018 residents, or 0.2%; and Illinois, which dropped 18,124 people, or 0.1%.
The census figures showed a continuing migration to the South, whose population grew by 10.2% and the West, up 9.2%,. The population increase in the Northeast was 4.1% , and the Midwest was up 3.1%.
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Riley Yates may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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