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Census Bureau: Six States to Gain House Seats, Seven Lose One

April 26, 2021 by Dan McCue
The U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Six states will see their congressional delegations grow in the next Congress, officials with the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.

Dr. Ron S. Jarmin, the bureau’s acting director, said as of April 1, 2020, the number of people living in the United States was 331,449,281, a 7.4% increase over the official population count from the 2010 census.

That was the second slowest U.S. growth rate recorded in the history of the once-a-decade count, he said.

Despite that, the long-running trend of the South and the West gaining population, and Congressional representation, at the expense of the Northeast and the Midwest, continued.

The South saw a 10.2% increase in population over the past decade, followed by the West, with an increase of 9.2%. The Northeast saw a 4.1% increase in population over the past 10 years, but the Midwest grew by only 3.1%. 

Monday’s announcement of the numbers coincided with the Census Bureau delivering the results to the president, a ritual that has occurred only 23 other times in U.S. history.

Once the bureau delivers the census to the White House — along with assurances that it is complete and accurate, the president turns the population counts and apportionment results over to Congress.

However, the Census Bureau’s work is not done: It still has to deliver the redistricting data to the states, something officials said would be done no later than September 30.

The Census Bureau adopted its current formula for the apportionment in 1941. Since then, there has been a combined net shift of 84 House seats to the South and West. This year, Jarmin said, saw the smallest number of seats shifting among the states in 80 years, with a shift of just seven seats among 13 states.

Texas is set to add two U.S. House seats to its delegation after a decade in which the state added more than 4 million new residents, the bureau’s technical experts said.

Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Montana and Oregon will each add one more seat. 

States losing seats are almost all in the highly contested Rust Belt.

These include Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

One of the regional outliers among the states losing a seat is New York, which bureau officials said came within just 89 people of retaining all of its seats.

The other state losing one congressional district is California, which hasn’t seen a decline in the number of its delegation members since 1850, the year it joined the union.

The data announced Monday will be used to reapportion seats in Congress, and, in turn, the Electoral College, based on new state population counts.

The count is also critical for allocating billions of dollars in federal funding as well as state and local planning around everything from schools to housing to hospitals.

The states they’ll have the most representatives in the next Congress are California with 52 seats, Texas 38 seats, Florida with 28 seats, and New York with 26 seats.

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