In Dec. 30 IssueBy John ThompsonTimes Journal Reporter
The first data of the 2010 Census have been released. The first numbers, as released, deal with the country as a whole and population breakdowns by states.
The official numbers for what changes may have occurred in Russell County since the 2000 Census are not expected to be released until approximately March 1, 2011, but new demographic data are available from the Census Bureau from its 5-year ACS (American Community Survey) for 2005-2009, a few of the more notable statistics will be listed after a breakdown of the newly released 2010 Census data.
The official resident population of Kentucky as of April 1, 2010 was 4,339,367.
For the purposes of congressional apportionment by districts the official number includes overseas U.S. military and federal civilian employees (and their dependents living with them), as reported by the employing federal agencies, brings the number to 4,350,606 people. The result will be no change in the number of Congressional Districts which remain at six.
The population of the entire U.S. on April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538 people. This is an increase of 9.7 percent over the population at the 2000 Census of 281,421,906. Kentucky's population stood at 4,041,769 in the 2000 Census, which means that Kentucky grew by 297,598 people, or 7.4 percent over the past decade, lower than the national average. This drops Kentucky from the 25th most populace state to the 26th. The national average growth is the lowest growth rate recorded in a census since the Great Depression.
In the 2000 Census, Russell County had a population of 16,328. When the data is released for the county in March 2011, if the county has grown by the state average of 7.4 percent, Russell County would have added 1,202 persons over the past decade for a total of 17,530 persons. This number is highly unreliable due to the expanding and contracting job market in the county over the past decade, but does fit a growth rate when compared with a 2008 Census estimate of 17,296 for that year.
The preliminary numbers released for the 2010 U.S. Census are required to be delivered to the President of the United States before December 31 of the year so that he may deliver the new apportionment counts to the 112th Congress but reapportionment will be reserved for the 113th Congress, which will not be seated until January 13. Up until that time much debate will likely take place as to where to draw districting lines.
The 113th Congress will then decide upon newly drawn redistricting lines, which in theory are supposed to better represent the populations within the districts, but which have at times notoriously been gerrymandered; defined as the dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.
The United States House of Congress consists of 435 seats since 1913, though that number can be changed by Congress. Currently each Congressman/woman represents approximately 711,000 persons. Though Kentucky will remain with 6 seats in the House, there were a few significant changes elsewhere.
Texas, a state that has been notorious for gerrymandering, has gained 4 seats in the House, while Florida has gained 2. Ohio and New York both lost 2 seats. Overall, 8 states will gain a total of 12 seats, while 10 states will lose those 12 seats. The demographics show that almost all gains are in "red" or traditionally Republican states in the South and South East, while seat losses were from "blue" or traditionally Democrat states of the North/Northeast.
Every year the U.S. Census Bureau releases a 5-year American Community Survey which reviews data from the most recent 5 years. Information for the 2005-2009 survey was released on December 14, 2010. A few interesting statistics for the state as well as Russell County:
In Kentucky, from the 2005-2009 there were 50,507 housing units built, or 2.6 percent of the total number of housing units. This is a significant decrease from 2000-2004 in which 162,978 units, or 8.5 percent of the total available were built, and a relative building boom of 1990-1999 when 343,078, or 18 percent of all existing housing units were built.
70 percent of housing units are owner occupied, while 30 percent are rented. 62.5 percent of houses hold a mortgage and 6 percent of households do not have a telephone.
Russell County's total household income and benefits median is $29,153 but the highest percentage category is those earning less than $10,000 a year which consists of 20.3 percent of households, or 1,397 out of the 6,884 households, which is one out of every five households bringing in less than $10,000 in income and benefits. Just fewer than 70 percent of homes are valued at $99,999 or less.
The official U.S. Census is described in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States. It calls for an actual enumeration of the people every ten years, to be used for apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives among the states. The first official Census was conducted in 1790 under Thomas Jefferson, who was the Secretary of State. That census, taken by U.S. marshals on horseback, counted 3.9 million inhabitants. Since that time, the decennial Census has been conducted every ten years, generally on April 1 in years ending in a zero.
Besides providing the basis for congressional redistricting, Census data are used in many other ways. Since 1975, the Census Bureau has had responsibility to produce small-area population data needed to redraw state legislative and congressional districts. Other important uses of Census data include the distribution of funds for government programs such as Medicaid; planning the right locations for schools, roads, and other public facilities; helping real estate agents and potential residents learn about a neighborhood; and identifying trends over time that can help predict future needs. Most Census data are available for many levels of geography, including states, counties, cities and towns, ZIP codes, census tracts and blocks, and much more.