The United States grew by 7.4% between 2010 and 2020 to 331.4 million, the second smallest rate of growth in its history. The South grew the fastest over the last decade at 10.2%.
The new numbers will help the government decide where to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds for hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other services. Companies will study the figures when deciding where to build new factories and stores.
At the same time, Georgia lawmakers will use the data to redraw state and congressional legislative districts, ensuring each has an equal number of constituents as the state’s population has grown, especially in metropolitan areas.
Republicans control the state Legislature, so they have the authority to decide where to set political boundaries during a special session this fall. GOP lawmakers will draw maps that seek to entrench their majorities in Congress, the state House and the state Senate, while Democrats will attempt to stop them. The courts have upheld drawing districts for political purposes, meaning Republicans hold the power to determine which maps become law for the next 10 years.
During public meetings across the state, residents and advocacy groups have urged legislators to avoid gerrymandering, drawing oddly shaped districts that divide communities and reduce competition in elections. But in past redistricting years, the majority party, whether Republican or Democrat, has divvied up the state to maximize its number of seats.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the Census Bureau’s work for months. The count drew more attention when the Trump administration tried to add a citizenship question to the census form, a move blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ron Jarmin, the bureau’s acting director, addressed the data’s accuracy Thursday, saying the government has “conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews in recent census history.”
“The data we are releasing today meet our high data quality standards and I am proud to present them to the American public,” he said.
Georgia’s population has reached 10.7 million, gaining a million new residents from 2010 to 2020.
But for the first time since 1990, the state will not add a congressional seat, as population growth slowed from the pace of the previous two decades.
The United States grew by 7.4% between 2010 and 2020 to 331.4 million, the second smallest rate of growth in its history.