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Latest Census results to be released Tuesday

By the CNN Wire Staff
Based on 2010 Census results, Texas is expected to gain four congressional seats, the largest increase for any state.
Based on 2010 Census results, Texas is expected to gain four congressional seats, the largest increase for any state.
  • Census results are used for congressional reapportionment
  • About 134 million households are surveyed during 2010 Census
  • The first official results from the 2010 Census will be released at 11 a.m. ET

Washington (CNN) -- The Census Bureau is expected to release results of the 2010 Census on Tuesday, the first look at how the country has changed over the last decade.

"The 2010 Census began last January in a remote corner of Alaska and in the months that followed, America stepped up and achieved a successful Census," the bureau said on its website. "Beginning this month, the nation will see the first results from the 2010 Census as a new portrait of America begins to take shape."

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a Census be conducted every 10 years to track population shifts in the country. Its primary purpose is to determine how many people live in the United States and which states will gain congressional seats and electoral votes and which states will lose them.

But Census population figures are also used to distribute federal funds to states and communities.

The 2010 Census form had 10 questions -- the shortest one in U.S. history -- and surveyed some 134 million households either by mail or in person to collect the data. About 2 million Census workers were hired for the job.

About 74 percent of households returned the form, matching the rate in 2000, according to the bureau.

The new Census numbers will be the basis for congressional reapportionment, as the states divvy up the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

The report will likely kick off a fight next year between Democrats and Republicans over redistricting, as states gaining or losing seats will have to draw new districts.

But even most states which are assigned the same number of House seats may redraw the boundaries of their congressional districts to make each one roughly equal when it comes to population.

In states where one party dominates, the redistricting process could give that party an advantage, and the results could have a big impact on the 2012 battle for control of Congress.

The Census numbers could also have a big impact on the next race for the White House, as some states will gain or lose electoral votes, and thus influence over the outcome of the next presidential race.

Texas is expected to be a big winner in the process.

An estimate by Election Data Services, a political consulting firm that specializes in redistricting, suggests that Texas will likely gain four congressional seats, with Florida adding as many as two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington state possibly each gaining a seat.

According to the estimate, Ohio and New York could be the big losers, with each state likely losing two seats.

Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania may each lose a seat.

It is expected that California will remain steady at 53 seats, the largest congressional state delegation in the country.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.