Bad economy slows population growth in South, West

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's great migration south and west is slowing, thanks to a housing crisis that is making it hard for many to move.

Most southern and western states aren't growing nearly as fast as they were at the start of the decade, pausing a long-term trend fueled by the desire for open spaces and warmer climates. That's according to population estimates released today by the Census Bureau.

The development could impact the political map when House seats are divvied up following the 2010 Census. Southern and western states will still take congressional seats away from those in the Northeast and Midwest -- Florida could gain as many as two House seats and Texas could pick up four. But some seats hanging in the balance could stay put, and California could be in danger of losing a seat for the first time since it became a state.

The Census Bureau released state population estimates as of July 1, 2008. The data show annual changes through births, deaths, and domestic and foreign migration.

Utah was the fastest growing state, knocking Nevada from the top ranks. Utah was followed by Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Colorado. Nevada was ranked eighth, after 23 years of ranking in the top four each year.

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On the Net:

Census Bureau population estimates:

http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.php

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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