MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s population grew just enough in the past decade for the state to retain its eight seats in the U.S. House for the next 10 years, according to the first data released from the 2010 Census.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that Minnesota’s population grew 7.8 percent — to 5.31 million — from 2000 to 2010. The nation as a whole grew faster, however, at 9.7 percent to 308.7 million.

Every 10 years, the bureau releases population figures that are used to distribute the 435 seats in the U.S. House. Fast-growing states tend to pick up seats at the expense of those growing more slowly.

States that lose seats lose influence in Washington and votes in the electoral college, so giving up a seat can mean less attention both from the federal government and presidential candidates.

An analysis by reapportionment expert Kimball Brace of Election Data Services found Minnesota was awarded the final House seat with only 8,739 people to spare, just edging out Missouri.

Brace chalked the victory up to the state’s Scandinavian culture, which is traditionally known for encouraging good citizenship and has translated into consistently high census and election participation rates.

“It has been helped by its heritage,” he said of Minnesota. “That’s where they mainly benefited in gaining that very last seat.”

Demographers say Minnesota was on the edge of losing a seat for the first time since 1960 as the nation’s population continued its decades-long shift South and West.

Texas will gain four new House seats, and Florida will gain two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will gain one each.

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

Gov.-elect Mark Dayton said with the state facing a $6.2 billion deficit and sluggish economy, it couldn’t afford to lose a voice in Washington nor any of $400 billion federal money allocated based on census data.

“Thank you to the Minnesotans who responded to the 2010 Census and helped us achieve the second highest response rate in the nation,” he said.

The difference between keeping and losing a seat also may have come down to efforts to make sure everyone in the state was counted, said State Demographer Tom Gillaspy, who calculated the margin at less than 2,000 people.

“It was so close, to lose a few people would have done it,” he said. “We turned over every stone we could to make sure that no one got left out.”

For instance, Monica Nilsson, director of street outreach for St. Stephen’s Human Services in Minneapolis, worked to ensure homeless people in shelters and those crashing with friends were counted in the 2010 Census.

She said 1,700 people are homeless in Hennepin County, the state’s largest, each night. She knew “just counting all the homeless in Hennepin County could make the difference for that Congressional seat,” she said.

Minnesota had the second-highest response rate in the nation to the 2010 Census at 81 percent; only Wisconsin was higher. It also had the most accurate count in the 2000 Census, a follow-up analysis found.

Now that each state knows about the changes in its Congressional delegation, if any, the hard work of changing the districts for the U.S. House and local lawmakers speeds up.

Gillaspy said each U.S. House district in a state must contain the same number of people, which means the fast-growing suburban districts of Republican Reps. Michelle Bachman and John Kline must contract.

At the same time, new neighborhoods must be brought into the shrinking Twin Cities districts represented by Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison.

So next year, the Republican-controlled Legislature will begin redrawing the congressional districts and 201 state legislative districts. That map will go to Dayton for approval.

If Dayton and the Legislature can’t agree, or someone files a lawsuit, the matter probably will wind up in the courts — which has happened many times in the past.

On Tuesday, the Republican Party of Minnesota announced that Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb will be the party’s leader for redistricting during the legislative session that starts next month.

“We are committed to developing a fair redistricting plan, which recognizes recent demographic changes that have occurred in Minnesota and gives minorities the best opportunity for representation,” he said.

Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen said his party expects no less. “We call on the Republican majority to put Minnesota’s electoral integrity above partisan political games as we move forward with redistricting,” he said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Telly Mamayek Reports

Comments (14)
  1. JJ says:

    Bachmann still fear the census?

  2. Jake says:

    Congratulations to Mr. Gillaspy and all of those people who worked so hard to get an accurate count. This is great news for Minnesota.

  3. Colleen says:

    Have to love how Bachmann drives the left crazy. They can’t stop talking about her even when the subject is the Census. Proves she is doing just fine…

  4. Paul says:

    I hope your post was a sarcastic attempt to show how crazy Republican can be. If not, do you mind sending me a link showing how gardening is now illegal? Just curious.

  5. mayhem says:

    toni you must be related to that dumb ass beck

  6. How dumb is Paul says:

    Wow. Paul, you should drink a little less and work out more to keep you slight mental capability.

    1. Paul says:

      You actually went through the process of registering a user name just to respond to me? I’m honored.

  7. Ruby says:

    And while your at it Paul, why don’t you send the link that says Obama is doing a good job. Or done anything but give the rich bankers more money, grow the deficit, created more secret documents, etc.

    1. Paul says:

      Whether or not he’s doing a good job is a matter of opinion, not fact. I’m pretty sure you won’t find a link to it, unless you are looking at the opinion pages. Man, I am really surprised at the den of ignorance some of you have crawled out of.

  8. brad paulson says:

    which voices in youe head told you this?

  9. Ron Jacob says:

    Torie. I agree 100 parcent. We shuld resurect a statue in gold of bachmann and bow before it 3x a day. IN adition we need to repeel orbamacair cuz if i can’t afford healthcare then i shouldn’t have it. we also need to stop immigration cuz they are taking jobs that i should be able to qualerfy for with my GED. My great grandparents didn’t sail across the seas in a small boat so that I my job could go to foreigners! Go Tea Party!!!

  10. Wayne says:

    I sure hope everyone got counted. I was a Census taker and i had a heck of a time getting people to answer a few simple questions. Like how many people were in the household on April 1st

  11. ann says:

    I live in Michelle Bachman’s district. She is not doing fine. I find her ill informed, extremely lazy when it comes to serving her constituents, and disingenuous. My one hope is that gerrymandering will carve my small town OUT of her district.

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