No Apportionment Allocations Change with ’16 Census Estimates; but Change Likely by ’20


New Census Bureau population estimates for 2016 released today shows no change from last year’s study generated by Election Data Services, Inc. on which states would gain or lose congressional seats if the current numbers were used for apportionment in 2016.

But projecting these numbers to 2020, using several different methods, leads to more states being impacted by the decennial census scheduled to take place in just four years.

The Bureau’s 2016 total population estimates shows the same eight states as identified last year being immediately impacted by changes in their congressional delegation if these new numbers were used for apportionment today. The states of Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas would each gain a single seat, while the states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania would each lose a seat in Congress using the new data.

The new numbers, however, reflect subtle changes taking place across the nation in birth and death rates and resulting total population numbers that become magnified when the information is projected forward to coincide with the taking of the 2020 Census on April 1 that year.

A short-term projection method, utilizing the change in population in just the past year (2015-2016), would trigger a second seat lost to Illinois and a gain in Montana (going from the at-large seat they’ve had for the last three decades back to a two-member house delegation) on top of the changes anticipated last year. But Montana’s gain of a seat may not come about if one utilizes a long-term projection method (2010-2016), with that state’s seat instead becoming the fourth seat gained by Texas.


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