Arizona gets 9th seat in the House

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PHOENIX -- Arizona's population has been growing steadily for a decade, so much so that it's getting another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S. Census released its first results from the 2010 population count Tuesday. Arizona is one of eight states that gained a total of 12 seats in the South and West. Nine states will lose representatives in the 2012 election.

According to a redistricting consultant, Arizona's ninth House seat will probably be centered in Maricopa and Pinal counties. Those are the two counties that have grown the most.

Overall, Arizona's population grew from 5.1 million in 2000 to 6.4 million this year.

An independent commission is being put together to handle redrawing the district lines. That job will likely be a tough one.

Some believe the recession and the state's crackdown on illegal immigration have slowed -- perhaps even reversed -- Arizona's population boom. The census numbers should provide an indication as to whether that is actually the case.

About 69 percent of Arizona households mailed in their 2010 census forms. That's below the national average of 74 percent. It's also a slight dip from Arizona's 70-percent participation rate in the 2000 census.

According to the new census numbers. The U.S. population is 308.7 million. That's a 9.7 percent increase, which is the lowest growth since Great Depression.