Population Changes

Recently, the Census Bureau published the official 2020 state population counts. The data, which gets updated every 10 years, will be used in Congressional redistricting efforts this fall, but for now we can see which states are net gainers of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and which states have lost seats.

The biggest gain was in Texas, which will receive two extra seats, giving it 38 in total for the next election. Colorado (now 8), Florida (28), Montana (2), North Carolina (14) and Oregon (6) each gained a seat. Losing seats are California (52), Illinois (17), Michigan (13), Ohio (15), West Virginia (2), Pennsylvania (17) and New York (26).

In some cases, there is a trend — after the 2000 census, New York and Pennsylvania each lost two seats, and each lost another one after the 2010 tally. During the last 20 years, so-called “frost belt” states like Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio all lost seats, while Florida and Texas have seen the biggest gains.

In the latest census, Alabama, Rhode Island, and Minnesota very narrowly averted a loss, while New York lost its seat by a total of 89 census forms not filled out.

Based on these changes, one might assume a population exodus from states losing Congressional seats. In fact, New York and California increased their resident populations by 6.1% and 4.2% respectively. But Texas and Florida grew more rapidly — by 16% and 14.6% — since the 2010 census count. If you’re curious which states are gaining and losing population, you can go to this website: https://esrimedia.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/minimalist/index.html?appid=f2b8822244dc42b78b8245938340850e, and see different colored dots on each state. The size of the dot indicates the total size of the state’s population, and the color shows whether it is growing or declining: green (Texas, Florida, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, Georgia and South Carolina) indicates rapid growth, pale orange indicates slower growth, and purple (Mississippi, Kansas, Illinois, West Virginia and Michigan) shows which states are losing population.