SEEKONK — The population of Seekonk grew nearly 14.5 percent between 2010 and 2018 while growth in Attleboro was only 3.5 percent, according to state estimates.
That and other examples of uneven population growth will present a challenge for lawmakers as they redraw legislative districts in time for the 2022 election, the chairman of the House redistricting committee said Tuesday.
Redistricting — which happens every 10 years — evens out the population in districts for the Massachusetts House and Senate along with the U.S. House.
It results in some districts losing territory because of population growth and others gaining it because of slow growth.
Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, told a small gathering in Seekonk Tuesday that the population of Massachusetts has grown by about 5 percent, but the growth is different in each area of the state.
Suffolk County, which includes Boston, has jumped 11.8 percent, but Cape Cod and the Berkshires have lost population, he said.
Bristol County has grown by 2.87 percent, he said.
Mark said his district in the Berkshires will have to become significantly larger to bring in more population.
While the districts within Massachusetts will change after the 2020 U.S. Census is completed, the state will keep all its seats in Congress, Mark said.
After the previous census Massachusetts lost one seat in the U.S. House.
Rhode Island has had slow growth in recent years and is likely to lose one of its two congressional seats while Texas gains three and Florida gets two more seats, he said.
Mark, state Rep. Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk, and Ray Bennett of the U.S. Census spoke to the group in Seekonk to emphasize the importance of getting a thorough count of Massachusetts residents through the census.
Howitt, a member of the redistricting committee, said he organized the meeting to try to get accurate information out about the census so people will feel comfortable with it.
While Mark discussed how population will impact legislative districts, Bennett said most of federal financial aid is distributed based on the number of people in a state and town.
He said an effort will be underway throughout the year to use the internet, phone calls and visits to homes to get an accurate count.
The Census Bureau will be hiring people at about $22 per hour to go door-to-door in their hometowns to get people to fill out census forms.
Mark quoted Secretary of State William Galvin as saying this will be the most difficult census to conduct because of a fear of government that has surfaced among some segments of the population, including immigrants.
Galvin has identified Everett and New Bedford as cities that will be difficult to get a full count of.
Mark said the U.S. Constitution calls for all people to be counted.
“It doesn’t matter where you came from. It only matters that you are here,” he said.
Bennett said the Census Bureau is urging cities and towns to form “complete count committees” to help promote the census.
Howitt said people should be aware that legitimate census takers will be wearing official identification badges, and that census takers never ask for Social Security numbers, bank account information or political parties.
If someone is asking inappropriate questions, the resident should call the police, he said.
Bennett said police will be informed when census personnel are going door to door.