Census Figures and What They Mean for US Politics

The Story:

Figures from the 2020 census, newly made available, indicate that the total population of the US has grown since 2010, but only quite slowly. Indeed, the growth in 2010-20 was the second slowest in any decade in the country’s history, only faster than that of 1930 – 1940. And of course few couples were sufficiently optimistic in the 1930s to desire large families.

Uneven Growth: 

By statute, the total make-up of the House of Representatives will remain at 435. Generally speaking, states that grow more slowly than the national average are in danger of losing some seats in the House: states that grow more rapidly may gain some.

Only one state grew rapidly enough in population so that it is likely it will gain two seats when the dust settles. That is Texas. Five states look likely to gain one seat, and seven to lose one. Intriguingly, the list of states that stand to lose a seat includes New York and California.

The Thing to Know: 

The situation of New York is especially poignant. Eighty-nine votes short. If New York’s census count had come up with only 89 more people than in fact it did, it would have been entitled to keep all 27 of its House seats.

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