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2020 Census: The Follow Up

With the census conducted last year, 2021 will mark an important redrawing of the political map for the next decade. While the official allocation will likely be decided by Congress later in the year as the census data has been delayed, we can still predict what the political landscape can be for the next 10 years based on what has been released. Which states lose or gain will also present a story of America’s changing demographics. 

First, a brief overview of congressional allocation. The number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives is determined by that state’s population. The primary purpose of the Census is to count the population so that the House can be reallocated every 10 years. Because the number of seats in the US House has been locked in at 435, thanks to the Appointment Act of 1911, states with significant population change may gain or lose seats. This also affects the number of votes each state gets in the Electoral College, since the number of electoral votes each state gets is the sum of the number of house and senate seats. Put differently, each state’s Electoral College vote is the number of House seats +2, since each state gets 2 senate votes. 

Majority of the states, 34, will be unaffected by the 2020 Census. The following 9 states, however, will gain or lose seats. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that for the first time in the state’s history, California will lose 1 House seat, showing the demographic shift away from the Golden State as housing costs rise in the state. This means that California will have 54 electoral college votes instead of the 55 votes it has today. Most of the other states that are likely to lose seats are located in the Midwest. Esri, a company specializing in geographic information system tools and demographic tools, predicts that Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York State will all also lose 1 vote. 

Those 9 seats lost to the above states will be reallocated to just six states The growing states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina will all gain 1 seat. The great Lone Star State is the only state predicted to gain 3 seats in the US House of Representatives. Surprisingly, the states of Montana and Oregon are the other 2 states expected to gain 1 seat. 

To see a better visual of these predictions, check out Esri’s prediction map

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