The populations of big Sunbelt states bulged this past year while pockets of the Midwest and Northeast declined, accelerating a migration shift that will help shape who captures the White House in 2016.
Census Bureau figures released Tuesday, which tally state-by-state population changes in the 12 months ended July 1, show how key swing states in the 2016 election are growing. Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada all notched notable gains in population.
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“These states were already important in terms of electing the president…it just means they’re going to become more important,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Which political party that helps most varies by state and remains in flux. In general, Democrats see a 2016 advantage in the fact that many of these states are gaining minorities who traditionally lean disproportionately toward Democratic candidates.
But after 2020, Republicans may benefit because red states, led by Texas, are projected to gain a chunk of electoral votes during the once-a-decade reapportioning of House seats and Electoral College votes.
For the first time in nearly a decade, Florida gained more people than California this year. Adding 365,703 people—more than 1,000 a day—bumped Florida’s total population to 20.27 million.
An aerial view of The Villages retirement community in
Central Florida. A continued recovery in its housing
market has helped push Florida’s total population
past 20 million. Photo: Reuters
Almost a third of Florida’s new residents were immigrants, with Census Bureau estimates released this fall showing Cuba as the top source recently.
Democrats won the 2012 presidential race in Florida by about a 1% margin, and how the latest population figures affect that state’s vote is difficult to pin down. The retirees who flocked there in recent years voted strongly for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but the bulging Hispanic population helped President Barack Obama take the state, said Mr. Frey.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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