An Early Look at Reapportionment
by Charles Lemos, Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 05:00:56 PM EST
Election Data Services, a political consulting firm specializing in redistricting, election administration, and the analysis and presentation of census and political data, has updated its projections for reapportionment after next year's decennial US Census. Their analysis is based on estimates of each state's population on July 1, 2009, that were released earlier today by the US Census Bureau.
Their conclusion is that a total of 10 seats would shift among 17 states if the reapportionment of the House of Representatives were held today. The biggest loser, as of now, is expected to be Ohio. Ohio, which had been expected to lose one of its 18 seats since the decade's first 2010 projection, now looks in even worse shape, with a two-seat loss projected. Other losers include Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, each with a seat apiece. If Ohio doesn't cede two seat then it's likely that Rhode Island will lose one. For Rhode Island that would mean that it would become a single district constituency joining Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming as a state with just one House member.
All eight states that would gain seats based on the 2009 population estimates are in the South and West: Texas would gain three, with one seat apiece for Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. If Texas does gain three seats, it would bring the Lone Star state 35 Representatives and 37 Electoral College Votes.
California, as it stands now, would neither gain nor lose a seat. This would mark the first time since the Golden State joined the Union in 1850 that it did not gain at least one seat. However, Election Data Services believes that California may be on the cusp of losing a seat for the first time ever.
But even more at risk of losing a House seat is Minnesota. Although using the 2009 population estimates shows Minnesota barely holding on to its eighth and final House seat, a number of EDS models suggest that Minnesota may lose a seat. If so, then Minnesota's loss is likely a fourth seat for Texas. Should California lose a seat, then it's possible that Arizona may gain a second seat.
The demographic trends are consistent with the general pattern observed since 1960 that has seen a shift in population from the Northeast towards the Sunbelt.
The New York Times has more on the Census Bureau data released today. A quick takeaway:
States in the South and the West that grew by exceptional leaps and bounds during the real estate boom of just a few years ago are now experiencing sharply slower growth in population, the Census Bureau said Wednesday.
Many of those states are still projected to gain seats in Congress after the 2010 census, however, while industrial states in the Northeast and the Midwest will most likely see their delegations shrink.
But in a sign of the recessions power to reshape established demographic trends, the new census figures show that growth has slowed substantially in Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina, while in Florida, Nevada and California, more Americans moved out than in.
As a corollary, the new data show that several states in the Northeast like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts are holding on to more residents.
One of the more salient data points is that between July 2008 and July 2009, Texas added more people from home and abroad than any other state 231,539. That is more than Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Nevada, combined.