Washington state's Congressional delegation is about to grow by one seat in the House of Representatives:  from nine to ten.

The Census Bureau announced Washington state's population grew by 14 percent in the last ten years - thereby adding a new congressional seat.

Washington's population is 6,724,540 as of April 2010.

Projections by Election Data Services indicate a dozen congressional seats affecting 18 states would change hands. They include four seats for Texas, two for Florida and one each for
Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

New York and Ohio are projected to lose two seats apiece, while eight states would lose one seat apiece; Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and
Pennsylvania.

The Census determined the population of the United States to be 308.7 million as of April 2010. 

That number is up from 281.4 million in 2000.

Every 10 years, the Census is used to measure population shift and growth in the 50 United States, the 435 House seats are allotted proportionately. 

The 14 percent growth over the last ten years is lowest rate of growth for Washington since the 11.1 percent seen in the Great Depression.

Washington last added a House seat after the 1990 Census.  That seat, in the 9th Congressional District, is currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Smith.

In Washington, the districting process is handled by the citizen Redistricting Commission.

The commission, comprised of two Democrats, two Republicans and a nonvoting chairman, was created by constitutional amendment nearly 20 years ago to take the time-consuming and intensely political process out of the hands of the Legislature and governor.

It takes at least three votes to approve the maps. The Legislature may make minor adjustments in the first month of the 2012 session, by two-thirds votes of both houses, but lawmakers and the governor have essentially no role in the process used since the 1991 redistricting.


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)