Pennsylvania will lose one of its 19 congressional seats as a result of its lagging population growth, federal officials confirmed today.
The U.S. Census Bureau released population counts for the 50 states from the 2010 decennial census, and Pennsylvania's growth of 3.4 percent since 2000 trailed the nation's 9.7 percent increase. Nevada, the fastest-growing state during the decade, saw a 35.1 percent increase in population.
Pennsylvania's population was reported as 12,702,379 from the April 1 head count, keeping it as the sixth-largest state. The U.S. has 308,745,538 people.
A congressional reapportionment process takes place after each census, redistributing the 435 seats in the House of Representatives based on growth trends.
The good news for Pennsylvania, which peaked at 36 congressional seats in 1910, was the one congressperson it will lose is the least since 1940. The state lost three seats following each census in 1950 and 1960, and two seats successively in 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000.
The last loss of two seats came after similar 3.4 percent population growth in the state during the 1990s.
Pennsylvania was one of eight states losing a single congressional seat this time, while New York and Ohio will each lose two.
The state's congressional seats will be redrawn into 18 districts next year in a process controlled by Gov.-elect Tom Corbett and the leadership of the state House and Senate, all Republicans.
Today's census release only covered state population counts. More detailed information counting each municipality and its change since 2000 will be released state by state starting in February.
"Although it is disappointing, this result was expected," said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County. "It is one of the consequences of the fact that Pennsylvania's population growth has not kept pace with other states.
"I will work with Governor-elect Corbett and my colleagues in the General Assembly to reverse that trend by enacting policies to foster job creation and overall economic growth. We must focus on attracting people to Pennsylvania and allowing the next generation of graduates to find family-sustaining jobs here in the Commonwealth."
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org