Census: Arkansas population up 9.1%

There wasn't much unexpected news for Arkansas in the latest U.S. Census data released as part of the decennial report.

Arkansas' population climbed to 2,926,229, up 9.1% from 2000. The U.S. population rose to 308,745,538 from 281.4 million a decade ago — a 9.7% increase.

Arkansas' four Congressional seats will remain at that number, but other state shifts will significantly alter national electoral politics.

Republican leaning states such as Texas will gain four new Congressional seats, while Florida will gain two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will gain one new seat each.

Democratic states Ohio and New York will lose two House seats each and Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey will lose one. Swing states Louisiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania will also lose one seat each.

Of the major states in terms of electoral count, Florida will have as many Congressional seats as New York with 27. California, which will neither gain nor lose any seats, will still have 53 seats. The addition of four seats in Texas will stretch its influence to 36.

In early 2011, the Arkansas General Assembly will reconfigure Arkansas' four Congressional seats. The First and Fourth districts are expected to grow in size as they've lost population. The Third District will narrow, while the Second District is likely to shrink by a smaller margin.

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All of the redistricting of the federal seats could shape the 2012 elections.

Later in the year, the State Board of Apportionment — which is comprised by Democrats Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Republican Secretary of State-elect Mark Martin — will redraw state legislative districts based on the new census data.

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