3,574,097 of Us in Connecticut

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By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut will keep all five of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, unlike a decade ago, as new figures from the Census Bureau show the population appears to be growing again.
Census Bureau population and congressional apportionment numbers released Tuesday show the number of

Connecticut residents grew from 3,405,565 in 2000 to 3,574,097 as of April 1, 2010. That represents a 4.9 percent increase in population.

“It looks like we’re in a position of steady growth again,” said Michael Howser, coordinator of the Connecticut State Data Center at the University of Connecticut.

Howser said more should be known early next year, when additional census data are released, about the population growth and where it is coming from.

A decade ago, the Nutmeg State lost its 6th congressional district because of low population growth compared to other states, such as Texas and Florida. Leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly formed a redistricting committee that had to redraw the boundaries for the five remaining U.S. House seats, as well as for the legislature.

The change pitted two incumbents, Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson, of the 6th district, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Maloney in the 5th District, against one another in the 2006 congressional elections. Johnson won that race but lost to Chris Murphy, a Democrat, in 2008. Murphy was re-elected last month.

While the state isn’t losing a U.S. House seat this time, a committee will again have to be created and members will adjust the remaining five congressional districts, as well as the legislative districts, to the latest population figures.

The state constitution requires that legislative leaders from both parties appoint individuals to the reapportionment committee by Feb. 15, 2011.

According to the Office of Legislative Research, the eight members of the committee must draw up new lines for the state House of Representatives, state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives districts and submit the plan to the full General Assembly for approval. The plan must be approved by two-thirds of the members by Sept. 15, 2011.

It does not require the governor’s approval.

There are provisions for adding a ninth member to the committee in case the panel is split on a decision.

In addition to Connecticut, the number of congressional seats held by Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire will not change due to the latest census figures. Neighboring Massachusetts, however, will lose one seat in the U.S. House. Also, New York is losing two seats and New Jersey is losing one.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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