Census: Minnesota to keep 8 seats in US House

Minnesota will keep all eight of its U.S. House seats based on the newest U.S. Census count.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on Tuesday 2012 reapportionment resulting from population changes tracked by the 2010 census. As of April of this year U.S. population increased to nearly 309 million people, up nearly 10 percent from 2000. The Census counted 5.3 million people in the state of Minnesota.

"As our state faces dire budget circumstances and Minnesota families continue to struggle in a tough economy, we simply could not afford to lose an important voice in our national policy discussion, nor the billions of federal dollars that are allocated to our state based on population," Gov.-elect Mark Dayton said in a statement.

As a result of population growth and shifts, 12 Congressional seats are being reapportioned affecting 18 states.

The Census Bureau said that even though Minnesota's population growth of 7.8 percent over the last 10 years was below the national average, it was good enough to preserve the state's apportionment of eight House seats. There were concerns that slow population growth in the Midwest relative to the West would result in Minnesota losing a seat.

Minnesota has not lost Congressional seat since the 1960 census when it went from nine to its current eight.

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State demographer Tom Gillaspy said months of outreach work ahead of the Census was a key factor.

"Yes, its the population, but its also how well do you get these people counted," Gillaspy said. "Minnesota has a lot of pride and we like to be right up there at the top in being the best counted and the most accurate. But took a lot of work."

He said several of Minnesota's Congressional districts had among the nation's best response rates -- including the 6th, where Rep. Michele Bachmann expressed some reservations about the count. He said the Twin Cities also had among the best responses of any U.S. metro area.

Metropolitan Council demographer Todd Graham said the new population numbers demonstrate Minnesota is an attractive place to live.

"I would attribute it to the strength of Minnesota as a regional economy and the quality of life in Minnesota," Graham said. "People do still move here and they do that because there are opportunities for work or starting a business and it's a great place to live."

Breakdowns of where the state has gained and lost population will start becoming available early next year. That information will be used to redraw state legislative and congressional district boundaries for the 2012 election.