The census and US House seats

There are a number of people eagerly awaiting the results of the 2010 Census. In addition to sociologists, politicians and states are awaiting an announcement regarding how population changes have affected seats in the House of Representatives:

The U.S. Census Bureau will release the new Congressional apportionment figures at a Dec. 21 news conference at the National Press Club, making official the number of Congressional districts each state will have for the next 10 years…

One trend expected to continue from the previous census is population growth rates in the South and West far outpacing those in the North and East. Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York are expected to lose seats as Florida, Texas, Arizona and Nevada are likely to gain seats.

I am very curious to see the full 2010 Census results regarding where the changes in the American population have occurred. While people have suggested that the suburban population has continued to grow (particularly in its proportion compared to city and rural dwellers), it is also interesting to note the continued trend of population growth in the South and West.

It would also be interesting to track how population changes, and the subsequent Congressional changes, really affect where the seat of power is in America. Let’s say New York loses a House seat going forward – does this really matter in the House? Does it matter in terms of public perception? Even with the population growth in the South and West, do the newer cities like Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego have the same perceived political power as established cities like New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago?

Why vote against honoring sports teams?

Amidst the story of the US House voting 395-5 to honor the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks with a resolution, three of the five who voted “no” explained their vote to the Chicago Tribune.

One was a diehard Flyers fan and Philadelphia native. A second is from New Jersey, across the river from Philly, and said his vote would not line up with his constituent’s interests.

The third “no” vote came from Marion Berry in Arkansas. His explanation:

I am generally opposed to congressional resolutions congratulating sports teams when they are the only reason members have been required to return to Washington to vote for that day. While the success in any sporting event is a source of great pride for all who played a role in the victory and their supporters, these resolutions are far less urgent than the many other important challenges facing our nation, such as job creation and our economy.

While Berry is certainly correct about the relative importance of this resolution, does it matter if he is the only House member who feels this way? Will any of his constituents take note? Is it the sort of fact that can be used for him on the campaign trail – or will he be seen as a killjoy? A quick perusal of the early comments on the story suggest Berry may be on to something…