California Gains 7 House Seats in Final Census


California’s population swelled 26.1% to 29.8 million over the last decade, giving it seven new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Census Bureau said Wednesday as it reported that America is now home to nearly a quarter of a billion people.

Census figures sent to President Bush by Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher counted 249,632,692 residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia as of April 1, 1990. The figure, which includes military personnel and federal workers stationed abroad, is 10.2% higher than the 226,504,825 people counted in 1980.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Dec. 28, 1990 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday December 28, 1990 Home Edition Part A Page 3 Column 1 Metro Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Redistricting--A Page 1 map in some editions Thursday incorrectly listed the projected increase in congressional seats in California. A corrected version of the map appears on Page A26.

Mosbacher told the President that 19 of the 435 House seats will be exchanged among states that have gained or lost population during the 1980s. In California, the most populous state, the changes will mean a 52-member congressional delegation.

In addition to congressional reapportionment, the once-in-a-decade head count affects the size of some federal payments to state and local governments and the relative political influence of state and municipal officials.


The census figures are also eagerly awaited by researchers, business executives and marketers, who will study the numbers to divine future trends in politics, employment patterns, consumer habits and lifestyles as the nation enters the 21st Century.

Besides California, seven other states will gain House members and 13 will lose legislators when the 103rd Congress convenes in January, 1993. Florida will add four seats for a total of 23, and Texas will gain three seats for a total of 30. The other five states with increases will add one seat each: Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

New York will be the big loser, surrendering three seats. It will have a delegation of 31. Four states will lose two seats each: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Eight will forfeit a single seat each: Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey and West Virginia.

The census figures show that four states lost population over the decade: Iowa declined to 2,787,424 from 2,913,808; North Dakota dropped to 641,364 from 652,717; West Virginia slipped to 1,801,625 from 1,949,644, and Wyoming fell to 455,975 from 469,557.

By all measures, California proved to be a near-perfect case study of the demographic changes sweeping the land. The state is home to nearly one in three of the decade’s newcomers, a melange of foreign-born immigrants and graying baby boomers who increasingly reflect the face of the average American.

New York, the second-most-populous state, exhibited the downside of the demographic trends of recent years. Census enumerators found 18 million people in the state, a scant 2.2% more than the 17.6 million counted in 1980. A decade of declining manufacturing and a progressively weaker economy contributed to a significant slowing of the Northeast’s population growth.

The census data shows that the nation’s population continues to move west and south, as it has since the earliest head counts taken in the 18th Century. For largely the same reasons that their ancestors headed for the uncharted western frontier over the last 250 years, Americans appeared eager during the 1980s to pack up and move from the slow-growing Rust Belt and Yankee states to the more prosperous Sun Belt in search of jobs and financial opportunity.

“Almost all migration is economic,” said Carl Haub at the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington demographic consulting firm. “Few people can afford to move for lifestyle reasons. So they move for employment reasons or to retire in warmer places.”


Census Director Barbara Everitt Bryant agreed. “The dramatic part of this decade is the change by regions,” she said during a news conference. “The West is the big population gainer, with a 22.5% gain in its population.”

In fact, the Northeast exchanged places with the West as the nation’s least populous region, the figures show. About 50 million people were found living in the Northeast in 1990, up less than 3% from 49 million in 1980. The West edged into third place with nearly 53 million, compared to the 43.2 million in 1980.

The South continued to be the most populous of the four major census regions, with 85 million residents in 16 states and the District of Columbia, up 13% from 75.4 million in 1980. The Midwest, while growing less than 2%, remained the second most populous region, with 59.9 million residents spread across 12 states in 1990, compared to 58.9 million in 1980.

Last summer, Census Bureau officials estimated the nation’s population at 245.8 million, a figure markedly short of the final count. At the time, officials said the “in-progress” figures were based on mailed-in census forms and door-to-door surveys and were only intended to be used by city and state officials to double-check preliminary census tabulations.


But, during congressional hearings and public meetings, big-city mayors--led by New York’s David N. Dinkins--criticized the bureau’s efforts. Fearing a loss of federal aid and legislative power, officials in Los Angeles, New York and other major cities challenged the preliminary figures.

Census officials responded by conducting a block-by-block local review in the challenged cities. In the process, they apparently uncovered 2 million to 3 million people who were overlooked in the preliminary tally.

“We have seen here a full, fair and efficient census,” said Michael R. Darby, commerce undersecretary for economic affairs. “I think that the census came out surprisingly close to projections.”

Darby said he expects that Dinkins and other mayors will be pleased with the final numbers because there are “substantial increases” in the figures for most big cities. Those numbers were not released as part of Wednesday’s announcement.


But Darby and Bryant refused to say whether the latest figures are considered so accurate that an adjustment would be unnecessary. “The adjustment question is one for the summer,” Darby said, noting that the bureau is only midway through its review of a random survey of 150,000 households to determine whether an undercount of minority members had occurred.

Under the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles, New York and other big cities, the commerce secretary has until July 15, 1991, to decide whether the final figures grossly understate the number of minority members and poor people, who traditionally are missed by census enumerators.

Bryant said there is no way to know whether the census is accurate until the review is completed. “In mid-'91 we will know how accurate the census was overall,” she said.



State 1990 Growth Population 1980-90 Alabama 4,062,608 4.3% Alaska 551,947 37.4 Arizona 3,677,985 35.3 Arkansas 2,362,239 8.6 California 29,839,250 2.7 Colorado 3,307,912 26.0 Connecticut 3,295,669 6.0 Delaware 668,696 12.5 Florida 13,003,362 33.4 Georgia 6,508,419 19.1 Hawaii 1,115,274 15.6 Idaho 1,011,986 7.2 Illinois 11,466,682 0.4 Indiana 5,564,228 1.3 Iowa 2,787,424 -4.3 Kansas 2,485,600 5.2 Kentucky 3,698,969 1.0 Louisiana 4,238,216 0.8 Maine 1,233,223 9.7 Maryland 4,798,622 13.8 Massachusetts 6,029,051 5.1 Michigan 9,328,784 0.7 Minnesota 4,387,029 7.6 Mississippi 2,586,443 2.6 Missouri 5,137,804 4.5 Montana 803,655 2.2 Nebraska 1,584,617 0.9 Nevada 1,206,152 50.7 New Hampshire 1,113,915 21.0 New Jersey 7,748,634 5.2 New Mexico 1,521,779 16.8 New York 18,044,505 2.8 North Carolina 6,657,630 13.2 North Dakota 641,364 -1.7 Ohio 10,887,325 0.8 Oklahoma 3,157,604 4.4 Oregon 2,853,733 8.4 Pennsylvania 11,924,710 0.5 Rhode Island 1,005,984 6.2 South Carolina 3,505,707 12.3 South Dakota 699,999 1.3 Tennessee 4,896,641 6.7 Texas 17,059,805 20.0 Utah 1,727,784 18.3 Vermont 564,964 10.5 Virginia 6,216,568 16.3 Washington 4,887,941 18.3 West Virginia 1,801,625 7.6 Wisconsin 4,906,745 4.3 Wyoming 455,975 -2.9


State House Members Change Arizona 6 +1 California 52 +3 Florida 23 +4 Georgia 11 +1 Illinois 20 -2 Iowa 5 -1 Kansas 4 -1 Kentucky 6 -1 Louisiana 7 -1 Massachusetts 10 -1 Michigan 16 -2 Montana 1 -1 New Jersey 13 -1 New York 31 -3 North Carolina 12 +1 Ohio 19 -2 Pennsylvania 21 -2 Texas 30 +3 Virginia 11 +1 Washington 9 +1 West Virginia 3 -1



Year Population Rate of Change Percent of (millions) (percent) U.S. Total 1850 92,597 0.4% 1860 379,994 310.4% 1.21 1870 560,247 47.4 1.45 1880 864,694 54.3 1.72 1890 1,213,398 40.3 1.93 1900 1,485,053 22.4 1.95 1910 2,377,549 60.1 2.58 1920 3,426,861 44.1 3.23 1930 5,677,251 65.7 4.61 1940 6,907,387 21.7 5.23 1950 10,586,223 53.3 7.00 1960 15,717,204 48.5 8.76 1970 19,971,069 27.1 9.82 1980 23,667,902 18.5 10.45 1990 29,839,250 26.1 13.20

Source: U.S. Census Bureau