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U.S. tops 300 million; Sunbelt gains seats

Now we are more than 300 million.

Now we are more than 300 million.

And we're still growing faster in places like Texas and Florida than in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Both northeastern states will lose a congressional seat starting in 2013 as a result of slow population growth, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday as it rolled out the first results of its 2010 count.

The loss of a U.S. House seat for each state means a continued erosion of political clout in Washington as national power shifts away from the Northeast and Midwest, and toward the South and West.

Pennsylvania will have 18 U.S. House seats, down from 19. New Jersey will have 12 seats, down from 13.

The reapportionment announcement came as the Census Bureau, with great fanfare, released the first results of the 2010 Census.

It reported that the population of the United States rose over the past decade from about 281 million to not quite 308 million, a growth of 9.7 percent.

In round numbers, Pennsylvania grew from 12,281,000 to 12,702,000.

New Jersey grew from 8,414,000 to not quite 8,792,000.

With 435 House seats to be shared among 50 states, the number of seats each state holds is weighted according to its relative population.

California will lead the nation with 53. Next comes Texas, with 36.

By spring, the state legislatures in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey will begin to redraw the maps of House districts to reflect the loss of seats.

Contact Tom Infield at 610-313-8205 or