Texas, California, and Florida are leading in the population rise of the Southern and Western states that account for “more than 80 percent of new residents nationwide over the last three years.” California remains the most populous state with 38,332,521 residents, and Texas has held its number two spot with 26,448,193 residents. New York came in third with 19,651,127, however Florida is expected to surpass the Big Apple because its population is growing three times faster and it is less than 100,000 residents behind.
State officials are closely monitoring these numbers because population estimates determine the funding of various federal programs as well as the number of seats that each state holds in the House of Representatives. Texas has the potential to gain 3 congressional seats if the population continues to rise as it has in the last 3 years. Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado would each gain one seat which would result in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia and Rhode Island losing one. The political clout of a state is largely determined by the “demographic contest”, so as long as population increases follow the recent trend, the spotlight will remain on the southwest.
Source: “Population rising faster in South and West, census data show” by Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times