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Florida Population Grows Despite Outflow of Residents

Despite an exodus of nearly 32,000 residents to other states, Florida’s population rose by 114,091 during the year ending July 1, 2009, because of immigration, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday.

Home to more than 18.5 million, Florida’s population was boosted by an influx of 87,381 international immigrants and a natural increase of 58,169 as births outnumbered deaths for the year, the Census Bureau said.

But Florida was one of a handful of states to experience a net out-migration of domestic residents, joining Illinois, Nevada and other states that experienced an outflow for the 12 months ending July 1.

Michigan and Maine were the only two states to lose overall population for the period, with populations shrinking by 32,759 and 1,390 respectively. The revised figures are the last to be based on the 2000 Census.

"We are focused now on ensuring we get a complete and accurate count in 2010,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said in a statement. “The census counts will not only determine how many U.S. House seats each state will have but will also be used as the benchmark for future population estimates."

Texas led the nation in population growth for the year, adding 478,012 people while California came in second with an additional 381,293. California’s overall growth came despite the fact that more than 98,000 California residents left during the period.

The Census data showed a slower Florida flight than a similar study released in August by the University of Florida. In that study, which was based on a 12 month period ending April 1, Florida lost 58,000 residents compared to a year earlier.
People coming in from out of state have been Florida's lifeblood since the early days of statehood. One of the state’s most robust periods occurred between 1995 and 2006 when the population grew between 2 percent and 2.6 percent a year. Florida population growth for the period ending July 1 was significantly below 1 percent.

The final figures will play prominently in Florida’s immediate political future. In October, Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, told a House council that Florida will likely gain only one congressional seat following next year's census --down from the two additional seats state officials had expected to land before the economic slowdown. Florida now has 25 Congressional seats.

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