Population data collected from the 2020 census could lead to dramatic changes in how congressional seats and Electoral College votes are apportioned in several states. Ten states, including several in the Northeast and Midwest, are set to lose congressional districts, although seven in the West and South could gain seats, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data.
The results of the census will be used to determine how 435 seats in the House seats are apportioned for the next 10 years. This impacts a state’s political power in Congress and importance in presidential elections, as Electoral College votes are determined by the size of a state’s congressional delegation. The reapportionment is expected in December 2020, resulting in the lengthy process of each state redrawing congressional maps for the 2022 midterm elections.
The Census Bureau released its final population estimates ahead of next year’s census in a report on Monday. An analysis of the figures by the consulting group Election Data Services shows the 10 states set to lose a congressional district:
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Among the seven states set to gain seats, Texas and Florida are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries, gaining at least three and two congressional districts respectively. That would give Texas the second-largest number of congressional districts and electoral votes in the country, behind California.
Texas is increasingly becoming a battleground state in presidential elections, due to demographic change and growing urban populations. According to the Census Bureau data, Texas had the second highest number of new residents from other countries between July 2018 and July 2019, behind California, and the second highest number of new residents from elsewhere in the U.S. over the same time period, behind Florida.
Florida is also a critical state in presidential elections. The winner of every election since 1996 has captured the Sunshine State.
Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon are each set to gain one congressional district, according to Election Data Services.
Among the states set to lose a seat, population decline in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania in particular demonstrate the continued contraction in former industrial powerhouses.
The 2020 census has been a subject of much debate and litigation over the past year, as the Trump administration attempted to add a question about citizenship. Opponents argued that this would lead to an undercounting of the population in states with large numbers of undocumented immigrants, which in turn could lead to lower apportionment in Congress.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled against including the proposed citizenship question, saying the administration’s explanation for including it was insufficient. President Trump abandoned the effort soon after, saying his administration would collect data on citizenship by other means.