Texas will gain two more congressional seats and seven states will each lose a seat as a result of population shifts recorded in the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau said Monday in the release of its first round of data from the survey taken last year.
In total, seven seats shifted affecting 13 states. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one seat in addition to Texas. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one seat.
The shift could affect the 2022 midterm elections and whether Democrats can hold onto control of the House, where they hold a narrow majority. It’s also part of a broader shift to the South and West of the U.S., with 84 seats shifting toward those states since 1940.
The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 seats, based on population. Every decade, as population shifts, the allotment of seats for each state may change based on updated data collected by the Census Bureau. States that grow may gain House members, at the expense of shrinking states.
The population for apportionment includes residents of the 50 states, plus overseas service members and federal civilian employees who are attached to their home state’s tally, according to the Census Bureau.
New congressional districts would take effect for the 2022 election. That puts added pressure on Democrats, who control the house by the slim margin of 218-212, with five seats vacant. The size of the House has not changed since 1913.
States that gained seats were mostly Republican-leaning, with Texas, Florida, Montana and North Carolina each voting for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. North Carolina was one of the closer races, with Trump defeating President Joe Biden by less than 1.5%. Oregon and Colorado, meanwhile, were solidly blue states in the last election.
States that lost seats were mostly Democratic, but consist of more close battleground states. California, Illinois and New York were solidly in Biden’s column; Michigan and Pennsylvania were closer swing states with slim margins for the president. Trump prevailed in Ohio and West Virginia.
“Today’s data release is the first step in the redistricting process and it will give states the number of congressional districts they will have for the rest of the decade,” said Michael Li, senior counsel for the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program.
Monday’s Census data release only contains information about total populations in each state, not specific information like the demographics of the population and where they reside that states will use to determine how they draw their congressional districting maps.
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said Monday that redistricting data would be available by the end of September.
Texas’ gain is a continuation of a trend of rapid population growth in Southern and Western states and a “political power shift from one region of the country to the other,” Li said.
Census data showed the South grew the most in the last 10 years, by 10.2%. The West grew by 9.2%, the Northwest by 4.1% and the Midwest by 3.1%.
States that lost congressional districts based on the 2020 census will have the challenge of determining where to cut representation, while states that gained seats will be preparing for political battles.
Li said that the country could be poised for a battle over gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing district lines to favor one party over the other or to suppress the vote of communities of color. In some states,…