East Texas leaders watching census returns closely

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The count is in. We now know the 2010 census population. States now know how many congressman they'll have.

Here's a quick look at the numbers. The Census Bureau today reports the United States population is 308,745, 538. California is the most populous state with 37.2 million residents. Texas remains second with 25.1 million residents. Texas will get four new seats in Congress, more than any other state.

State and city leaders will be analyzing all the demographics as it becomes available. The political positioning is underway.

The closely watched 2010 census is meeting expectations. Texas gained the most people since the 2000 census -- adding 4.3 million residents.

"You've heard the stories. One thousand people a day, more businesses moving to Texas, more Fortune 500 companies," said Representative Wayne Christian, a Republican state legislator from Center. "That's the good of Texas economy. It has brought more people."

Today's announcement of four new congressional seats for Texas triggers state redistricting, a process where the dominant party redraws the election map.

"Probably in Texas we've had a faster growing Hispanic population in the last 10 years than any other population, so we will be required to keep the Hispanic communities of interest together across the state," explained Christian.

Populations grew across the state, but the rate was much faster in the metropolitan areas. "This always hurts rural east Texas," said Christian.

The 2010 census results also are used to distribute more than $400 billion in annual federal aid.

Lufkin and Nacogdoches are hovering around the 33,000 to 34,000 mark in population. "We're hopeful that we'll see a nice little bump," said Jim Jeffers, Nacogdoches city manager. "Some said, 'Gee, it would be nice to get to 35,000'. I don't know if we will get there, but we'll take what we get and then after we receive it, then the after census wrangling begins."

For now all leaders can do is cross their fingers for the best. The stage is set for a year of political maneuvering that shapes the political landscape for the next ten years.

For more information about the nation's population count visit www.census.gov

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