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Census data: Minnesota keeps 8 seats in Congress

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota, with 5.3 million people, will keep eight U.S. House seats.

The Census Bureau this morning released its 2010 population figures, which will be used to draw new congressional and legislative district lines.

Many had feared Minnesota would not gain as many people as other states and would lose one of its House seats. However, today's release showed Minnesota maintained its eight seats by 15,000 people over North Carolina.

The census figures show Minnesota continues to be the 21st most populous state.

In states adjoining Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota maintained their positions among states, but North Dakota dropped one position to 48th in population and Wisconsin fell two slots to 20th.

The biggest news for Minnesota was keeping House seats. While the U.S. Constitution gives each state two senators, the House's 435 members are divided up based on population. While Minnesota grew in the last 10 years, since the last census was taken, some state officials feared that it had not grown as much as states like North Carolina, which also were on the bubble.

State Demographer Tom Gillespie encouraged Minnesotans to return census forms last spring in hopes that all would be counted. That effort is one factor being credited for the state holding on to its full House delegation.

Even though the state will maintain its eight House seats, district lines will be redrawn in the next year to fulfill the one person, one vote federal requirement. With a continued migration from rural to urban areas, that means rural congressional districts will get larger geographically so each district can hold the same number of people.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., parent company of the South Washington County Bulletin.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.