McCulloch loses population in census count

Results are in from the 2000 Census and surprisingly, McCulloch County showed a 6.5 percent decrease in head count. Even more surprising, all of McCulloch’s neighboring counties, with the exception of Coleman County, increased in population’an increase that stretches from 4.8 percent in Menard County to 46.5 percent in Llano. Concho County showed the second largest increase in the area with a 30.3 percent increase followed by San Saba County, 14.5 percent; Brown County, 9.6 percent and Mason County, 9.2 percent. Coleman showed a decrease with 4.9 percent. The following chart shows the comparison between the 2000 and 1990 Census for McCulloch and its surrounding counties: County 2000 1990 Brown 37,674 34,371 Coleman 9,235 9,710 Concho 3,966 3,044 Llano 17,044 11,631 McCulloch 8,205 8,778 Mason 3,738 3,423 Menard 2,360 2,252 As a whole, Texas stepped out in front of New York as the second most populated state behind California with a 22.8 percent increase. The expansion, however, wasn’t evenly distributed and the population in many West Texas counties decreased or remained the same. The biggest shortcomers were rural, sparsely populated communities. The five largest cities in Texas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau figures analyzed by the Texas State Data Center are: 1. Houston, 1,953,631; 2. Dallas, 1,188,580; 3. San Antonio, 1,144,646; 4. Austin, 656,562; 5. El Paso, 563,662. Abilene came in 19th with 115,930 residents while San Angelo ranked 28th with 88,439. The Census found that Hispanic Texans increased from 4.4 million in 1990 to 6.7 million in 2000. In the 1990 Census, Hispanics accounted for 60 percent of Texas’ population. The first breakdown of the 2000 Census head count showed 91 percent of the 3.86 million newcomers living in the largest cities and their suburbs. In fact, suburbs accounted for the eight fastest growing counties. Among them were Williamson, north of Austin, Montgomery, north of Houston and Collin, north of Dallas. Article 1, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution mandates a census every 10 years. The primary reason for conducting this decennial census is to determine the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives that each of the 50 states is entitled to have. Based on changes in state populations, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives may be reapportioned among the 50 states by the Census Bureau. Because the Constitution provides two senators for each state, the distribution of members in the Senate is not affected by census results or the apportionment process. States also use the census numbers in redistricting, a process of redrawing political districts after apportionment. This means revising the geographic boundaries of areas from which people elect their representatives to the House. The Constitution provides that each state will have a minimum of one representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. That leaves 385 remaining seats to be divided among the 50 states. As a result of Census 2000, four states gained one House seat: California, Colorado, North Carolina, and Nevada. Four states gained two House seats: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Eight states lost one seat: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Two states lost two seats: Pennsylvania and New York. A quick look back in history shows that the census conducted in 1790 had some other goals in addition to apportionment. It also provided a way to allocate the debt for the Revolutionary War among the states. Not only would state populations be used to determine the number of members each state had in the House of Representatives, original census laws provided for taxation based on population. The idea behind tying the census count to both representation and taxation was to keep it fair and accurate. While inflating population numbers might seem an attractive way to increase representation in Congress, it was an unattractive option considering the tax implications. (The census’ role in tax collection ended in 1913.) Another census goal was to provide information on the number of men who were eligible for the military. Before 1870, the population base for apportionment did not include all residents equally. It included the total free population, three-fifths of the number of slaves, and excluded American Indians not taxed. In Census 2000, the apportionment population includes the resident population of the U.S. (excluding Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico) plus the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Federal civilian employees stationed outside the U.S. (and their dependents living with them) that can be allocated to a home state. Apportionment figures do not take voting registration status into account so, even though they cannot vote, children under 18 are included in these numbers. Census data are used in a variety of additional ways. Data are used for market and advertising research, disease prevention, community advocacy, and resource allocation, even disaster relief. For example: Census information was used in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, a powerful storm that hit southern Florida in 1992. Census information provided estimates of the number of people missing in each block as well as detailed maps of destroyed neighborhoods.

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