WASHINGTON — After months of delays, the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday gave states part of the critical data needed to redraw their U.S. House boundaries: an updated tally of how many people live within their borders, and the number of House districts that each state will have for the next decade.
For six states, the long-awaited census results mean they’ll gain representation in Congress. Fast-growing Texas will add two seats, and five states will each add one seat: Florida (which surpassed New York to become the third-largest state), North Carolina, Colorado, Montana, and Oregon.
Because the House must remain at 435 lawmakers, seven states will have fewer representatives, after either losing population over the last 10 years or not growing as quickly as other states. New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all will see their federal delegations shrink by one legislator starting in 2023.
Overall, there were 331,449,281 people living in the U.S. on April 1, 2020, an increase of 7.4% since 2010. That’s the slowest growth in a decade since the 1930s, and the second-slowest growth rate in U.S. history.
For state officials in charge of redrawing district boundaries every 10 years, Monday’s data release offers certainty on only the beginning of what they need to complete the once-a-decade redistricting process for both Congress and their state districts.
States also need block-by-block population data in order to draw districts of equal population. That data will be released to states in a less user-friendly format on Aug. 16, with the fuller version to be sent by Sept. 30, according to the Census Bureau.