11:27am

Tue December 21, 2010
The Two-Way

U.S. Population: Nearly 309 Million, Census Says

The nation's 23rd census has concluded that the U.S. population stood at 308,745,538 on April 1 of this year, up 9.7% from 281,421,906 in the year 2000, the Census Bureau just announced.

It has a lot of information (and a webcast of the news conference that's now underway) up on its website. It's also tweeting (follow #2010Census) and is putting updates on its Facebook page.

Census also has a video about the all-important issue of apportionment -- the process of dividing up the seats in the House of Representatives based on the latest census numbers.

And Census created this interactive map:

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET: Census Director Robert Groves is asked whether the slow growth during the Great Depression years and the slow growth of the past decade (marked for the past two years by the so-called Great Recession) could both be attributed to the decades' economic woes.

It's "an assertion on the part of historians" that population growth slowed in the 1930s because of the depression, Groves says. And "the case is pretty attractive to make that the depression hurt the growth rate."

But, he says, "teasing out the effect" of the economy on population growth isn't easy and "we'll never be" sure how much the economic problems may have weighed on growth. It's worth noting, he adds, that "many developing countries" have seen their population growth slow in recent years.

Update at 11:48 a.m. ET. On citizenship:

Census Director Robert Groves was just asked about whether the count includes non-citizens -- or the "undocumented."

"In every Census since 1790, we have counted all persons who live in the country," he says. "We count residents, whether they are citizens or not."

So, the answer is yes.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET: The rate of growth is the slowest since the Great Depression years (when the population grew 7.3%). Census Director Robert Groves says about 60% of the increase was "natural" -- from births. The other 40%, he says, was from immigration.

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. On apportionment in the House, Census says that based on the new population estimate:

-- Eight states will gain members in the House. They are: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.

-- Ten states will lose members in the House. They are: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.