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Census data: NY to lose political representation


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Unable to keep pace with the population boom in other states, according to Census data released yesterday, New York will be losing two congressional seats and two electoral votes, likely diminishing the power and influence the Empire State once wielded.

The population of New York grew by a mere 2.1 percent to nearly 19.4 million over the last decade, Census 2010 data show, compared to the 9.7 percent growth experienced by the nation as a whole and the 35 percent increase in Nevada, the fastest growing state since 2000.

While still the nation’s third largest state, the loss of congressional seats, going from 29 to 27, leaves New York with the smallest delegation its had since 1823.

“Unless we make this a more attractive state to do business in and live in, people are going to continue to move out,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Only national and state population numbers were released yesterday, with a slow trickle of other Census 2010 data expected over the next few months. Highlights of other findings yesterday were:

•Besides New York, Ohio is the only other state losing two congressional seats.

•Eight states are gaining seats effective 2013. They are all located in the South and West. This “helps Republicans, because the shift has been to the south,” noted Grant Reeher, director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University.

•Texas is the big winner, gaining four House seats.

A smaller New York delegation diminishes the state’s influence in D.C. because there are fewer members to push for specific projects and earmarks, noted David R. Jones, professor of political science at Baruch College. Too, New York may now receive less of the $4 trillion the federal government is expected to apportion to states over the next decade.

“There will be a major reshaping of a lot of districts [in New York],” and upstate may see the most “rearranging” because that’s where the population loss is more greatly felt, Reeher said.

It is the responsibility of the state’s fractious legislature to redraw districts, which will now change in size from approximately 655,000 people to more than 700,000, Reeher explained.

The process always involves strong lobbying from congressmen “to have their district boundaries drawn in such a way as to preserve their political interests,” he said.

“The big question is whether there will be a political outcry for a less political redistricting process,” said Costas Panagopoulos, editor in chief of “Campaigns & Elections” magazine.

Erik Ortiz contributed to this story.

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