A population growth of 18.3 percent in the last decade was seen in Georgia raising the state's population to 9,727,566 -- including overseas military personnel -- according to Census Bureau numbers released Tuesday.
The state's representation will increase adding a 14th Congressional district. To accommodate, the state's reapportionment committee will review detailed Census numbers as they arrive next year to draw new maps defining Congressional districts.
Representing Bartow County, Congressman Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, released a statement Tuesday after hearing of Georgia's additional seat.
"I am reviewing the Census data released today and will continue analyzing it in the coming weeks. While I am certainly pleased that Georgia will have an additional seat in the United States House of Representatives, we will not know where the 14th Congressional District will be until our state lawmakers begin drawing the new maps. All Georgians should take pride in knowing that increased representation in Congress is testament to the economic growth and high quality of life for which our state is known," stated Gingrey.
Although the location of the new district is unknown, speculation has been rumored for areas throughout metro-Atlanta, northeast Georgia and northwest Georgia including Bartow County. State Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, reiterated the uncertainty of any claim until further Census data is released and the maps are drawn.
"We know that naturally, the greatest area of growth has been around metro-Atlanta. ... And how it reflects on our congressmen we don't know yet and we won't know until we get those numbers," Battles said. "Right now everything is dependent on the census and how the numbers shake out. It will determine whether we're in a new congressional district or not.
"Right now no one knows, everyone is speculating. Some say it will have an affect on Bartow County, some say it probably will not. It might be that we're in a new congressional district or we might be cut in half. We don't know right now until we get the census numbers back and they start working on the maps. We have no clue how it will effect us."
Georgia's 18.3 percent growth places seventh in growth percentage between 2000 and 2010. Overall, the state ranks ninth in population size. Georgia is one of eight states gaining in representation with the largest gain in Texas adding four seats. Ten states however will lose at least one seat while 32 will see no change. All representation changes will be reflected in the 2012 election taking office in 2013.
Bartow has seen its fair share of growth in the past decade as well. Census estimates for 2009 place the county population at 96,217 up nearly 21 percent from 76,019 in 2000.
Exact growth numbers will be analyzed by the Georgia General Assembly during their 2011 session before going to Gov.-elect Nathan Deal for final approval. The issue does, however, threaten to be a challenge. Battles referenced to the 2001 redistricting which resulted in a court ruling on the matter and expects the legislature will return to the Capitol during the summer for a final vote.
"They re-draw lines to represent or to take in that area and provide them with representation that is afforded them by law," Battles said. "It's a process. We just have to go through the process, draw the maps and be as fair as we possibly can."