Census count confirms Mass. to lose House seat

By 
Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Dec. 21, 2010

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 21, 2010…. As widely predicted, Massachusetts will lose at least one of its 10 seats in Congress during the 2012 election cycle based on population counts collected during the 2010 Census, according to data released from the U.S. Census Bureau.

During a conference call with reporters, Census Bureau officials confirmed Tuesday morning that Massachusetts is among ten states to be losing at least one U.S. House seat.

The loss of a seat, which will mark the first time since 1992 that there has been a change in the size of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, will force Beacon Hill lawmakers to begin the process of redrawing districts across the state to account for one fewer representative. The state currently has 10 House districts.

The redistricting process to be undertaken by lawmakers on Beacon Hill will also require state House and Senate maps to be redrawn to account for shifts in population.

The change will not only result in the loss of clout on Capitol Hill, but could negatively impact the level of federal aid the state receives for transportation, education and other programs disbursed through the federal government on a per capita basis.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Tuesday the population counts will determine how $400 billion in annual federal funding is distributed for education, housing, senior services and transportation.

“I could make an argument that that’s the most important impact. Over the next 10 years, we could lose or not gain access to hundreds of millions of dollars that might be available,” House Minority Leader Brad Jones told the News Service on Monday.

Census officials on Tuesday said the nation’s population in 2010 was 308,745,538, up 9.7 percent over the 281.4 million residents in 2000. The Northeast grew 3.2 percent over the decade, the lowest rate of growth among the nation’s four regions. At 14.2 percent, the South grew the fastest followed by the West, at 13.8 percent.

Officials said Massachusetts is not among the five slowest growing states: Michigan, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Ohio and New York. Massachusetts is among the top five states as measured by population density.

Secretary of State William Galvin had been "hopeful" that Massachusetts could avert the loss of a Congressional seat, as the state managed to do in 2000, through an aggressive Census count, combined with less thorough counts in other states.