By Jim Ellis
Jan. 3, 2019 — Late last year, we covered the new Census Bureau report for the states gaining and losing population during the past 12-month period. Now, we see the agency’s latest just-released numbers for the decade through this past July. Armed with the new data, outside mathematicians have made apportionment projections to provide a more defined picture as to which states will be gaining or losing US House seats in the 2020 post-census reapportionment.
With two years remaining in the present decade, trends can still change and we must remember that the reapportionment formula is complex, but the new projections give us a strong idea as to just how many seats, give or take a small variance, will transfer. At this point, according to the Washington, DC-based Election Data Services, it appears that as many as 22 seats could change location affecting 17 states.
Texas, having gained 3.55 million people since the 2010 census, looks to be adding as many as three seats for the 2022 elections and beyond. This will give the Lone Star State 39 seats during the next decade, and 41 electoral votes in the succeeding presidential elections.
Florida was the second largest gainer with just under 2.5 million new residents, meaning the Sunshine State will likely gain two seats, going from 27 to 29. In terms of raw numbers, California gained more than 2.3 million people, but it actually dropped a tenth of a point below the national growth average of 6.3 percent for the past eight years. This means the Golden State is currently on the hook to actually lose a district for the first time in history.
One-seat gainers look to be Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon.
The losers again come mostly from the northeast and Midwest. Under these early projections, New York may lose two seats even though the state gained over 160,000 residents, but that number, representing just a 0.8 percent growth rate, falls far below the national average.
One-seat losing states appear to be Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, with Rhode Island dropping from two districts to at-large status.
Three states actually have fewer people than they did in 2010. West Virginia has 47,162 fewer residents according to the Census Bureau, a reduction of 2.5% over the eight year period.
Illinois, which dropped below Pennsylvania in total population and is now the sixth most populous state, also lost people. They now have over 89,000 fewer inhabitants than in 2010, an overall reduction of 0.7 percent. This certainly translates into a loss of one congressional seat, and the state may be on the cusp of losing two depending largely upon how the decade’s final two years unfold.
The third state now having fewer people is Connecticut, which has 1,432 fewer individuals than it did in July of 2010.
In terms of growth percentage, the fastest gainer is surprisingly the District of Columbia at 16.7 percent, but of course no congressional representation is attached to this particular location, as we all know.
The fastest growing states are Utah (14.4 percent), Texas (14.1 percent), Florida (13.3 percent), Colorado (13.2 percent), North Dakota (13.0 percent), Nevada (12.4 percent), Arizona (12.2 percent), Washington (12.1 percent), and Idaho (11.9 percent). Yet, and mostly because the apportionment algorithm makes it easier for the bigger states to gain and lose seats, small state major population gainers such as Utah, North Dakota, Nevada, and Idaho are nowhere close to gaining another congressional district in the next census despite their robust growth rates.