The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released the first findings from the 2000 count, showing population growth in the South and West fast outpacing that in the North and Midwest. The numbers furnished new evidence of a trend that has been under way since the last count -- growth in the South and West spurred in large part by an increase in Hispanics, and a movement of Americans to such economic hotbeds as Atlanta and Las Vegas. The fastest-growing states will be rewarded with additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The U.S. population is now 281,421,906 an increase of 33,399,123 people, or 13.2 percent, over the 1990 census. Every state in the nation increased its population, with West Virginia recording the smallest growth at 0.8 percent over 1990 and Nevada recording the biggest gain, at 66.3 percent. The District of Columbia experienced the only population decline, falling 5.7 percent. Missouri's population increased to 5,595,211, a gain of 9.3%.
The biggest boom was in the lower half of the nation: Arizona's population increased 40 percent; Georgia was up 26.4 percent; Florida's increased 23.5 percent, and the population of Texas went up almost 23 percent.
California continues to be the most populous state, but Texas ascended into second place, replacing New York, which slipped to third. Missouri slipped two places to number 17.
Apportionment of seats in the US House will be based upon the numbers released today. Texas, Arizona, Florida and Georgia were the big winners in the House of Representatives, each gaining two seats. Nevada, California, Colorado and North Carolina each gained one seat.
Conversely, New York and Pennsylvania took the biggest hits, losing two seats apiece. Both states had small gains in population since 1990, but it wasn't enough to maintain their congressional representation. The Midwest took a hit, with Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin each losing one House seat. Connecticut, Mississippi and Oklahoma also lost one seat apiece.
The gains were most significant for Texas, which passed New York to become the second most represented state in the House. Texas now has 32 representatives, while New York's loss drops it to 29. California has the most House seats, with 52.
Sources: CNN.com, US Census Bureau