State Watch

Census numbers expected to shift House power to the South, West

The U.S. Census Bureau will release the first results of its decennial survey on Monday after a decade of explosive growth in Sun Belt states that will shift power in the House of Representatives.

Acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin will announce state population counts used to apportion House seats on Monday afternoon, the Census Bureau said early Monday.

Those results are likely to show a dramatic shift in population, as more Americans leave northern Rust Belt states in favor of sunnier climes where economic opportunity is more plentiful. Yearly population trends released over the last decade suggest five of the seven states likely to see their U.S. House delegations expand are in the Sun Belt.

Texas is certain to be the big winner this year. The state added at least 4 million new residents in the last decade, more than any other, as residents flocked to Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and their respective suburbs, many of which were among the fastest growing areas in the country.

Texas’s delegation in Congress is likely to grow by three seats, according to an analysis by the demographer Kimball Brace, who runs the nonpartisan firm Election Data Services.

Florida is also likely to gain two seats after a decade in which its population topped 20 million for the first time. North Carolina, Arizona and Colorado are the other Sun Belt states set to add one seat each to their delegations.

Residents moving to the West Coast will add two seats to Western state delegations, too: Both Oregon and Montana are expected to add seats to their delegations.

Population growth in the South and West is offset by continued stagnation in the Northeast and Midwest. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois are all expected to lose at least one seat each, continuing a losing streak those states started in the middle of the 20th century. West Virginia, Rhode Island, Michigan and Minnesota are expected to lose a seat each, as is Alabama, the only Southern state to see its delegation contract.

The major outlier, for the first time in the nation’s history, is California, which appears set to lose a seat in the House for the first time since it joined the Union in 1850. America’s most populous state added about 2.5 million residents in the last decade, but that growth will not be sufficient to maintain the state’s 53 seats in Congress.

Tags Alabama Arizona California Census Bureau Colorado congressional apportionment Florida House seats Illinois Michigan Minnesota Montana New York North Carolina Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island Rust Belt Sun Belt Texas West Virginia
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