It’s Official: California and New York to Lose One House Seat Each, Florida to Gain One, Texas to Gain Two
[guest post by JVW]
Remember how we actually had a census last year? I know, it’s hard for me to recall that too given everything that was going on. But we’ve apparently counted everybody up and today the U.S. Census Bureau announced the winners and losers in the House Seat Sweepstakes. Here’s what we learned:
* The overall population of the fifty United States increased in the past decade by about 7.1%, reaching 331.1 million people last year compared to just a tick under 309.2 million people back in 2010. (Note, there are just under 690,000 U.S. citizens residing in the District of Columbia and almost 3.3 million in Puerto Rico.)
* Texas, with a population growth of almost four million people in the past decade pushing the population over the 29 million mark, will gain two House seats.
* Colorado (14.6% population growth), Florida (+14.1%), Montana (+9.2%), North Carolina (+9.3%), and Oregon (+10.2%) will each gain one representative.
* California (+6.0%), Illinois (.32% population loss), Michigan (+1.7%), New York (+4.1%), Ohio (+2.1%), Pennsylvania (+2.2%), and West Virginia (-3.5%) will each lose one representative.
* The total population growth of the states which gained a House member is 13.7% for the decade, and the total growth rate of the states which lost a House member is 3.4% for the decade.
This is a slightly better outcome for the losing states than some had predicted earlier this year when it was thought that New York might lose two seats and that Texas could pick up as many as three and Florida perhaps two. Breathing a sigh of relief are states that might otherwise have been docked a seat such as Rhode Island (+4.3%), and disappointed are states like Arizona (+12.0%) who stood a chance to gain one.
Looking at the past two Presidential elections, this new alignment would have delivered Donald Trump one more electoral vote in 2016:
Trump 2016: Texas +2, Florida +1, Montana +1, North Carolina +1 vs. Michigan -1, Ohio -1, Pennsylvania -1, West Virginia -1 for a net of +1
Clinton 2016: Colorado +1, Oregon +1 vs. California -1, Illinois -1, New York -1, for a net of -1
and in 2020 he would have received a net result of three more electoral votes:
Trump 2020: Texas +2, Florida +1, Montana +1, North Carolina +1 vs. Ohio -1 and West Virginia -1, for a net of +3
Biden 2020: Colorado +1, Oregon +1 vs. California -1, Illinois -1, Michigan -1, New York -1, Pennsylvania -1, for a net of -3
So obviously it would not have impacted either of the last two elections. In the razor-thin 2000 election, this new map would have added four electoral votes to George W. Bush’s tally, as the states mostly align with their 2020 results with the exception of Colorado which went for Gov. Bush.
Looking ahead to 2031, it’s kind of hard to get a bead on which states stand to gain or lose should population trends continue as they have the past ten years. The upper-Midwest industrial states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois might find themselves once again facing subtraction. Arkansas and Mississippi in the Deep South along with Kansas in the heartland and Connecticut and Rhode Island in New England are in danger unless they can turn around their sluggish growth (Mississippi actually saw its population slip by 0.5% over the past decade). On the other side, states which barely missed out on adding a Representative this time around such as Arizona, Idaho, Georgia, and Washington are probably next in line to gain a seat (again, assuming continued growth), and both Texas and Florida could make further gains if they continue to rapidly grow.