Understanding Reapportionment vs. Redistricting

art for fair districts

Editor’s Note: In our ongoing effort to educate our readers on issues related to gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, we wanted to share some information from Fair Districts PA regarding the difference between reapportionment and redistricting. From the nonprofit’s website:

The terms “reapportionment” and “redistricting” are often used interchangeably, but while the two are related they refer to different processes.

As used in the U.S. political system, reapportionment refers to the once-per-decade reallocation of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives based on the relative population of each state to the total population of the country as determined by the decennial census.

Because the number of seats is fixed at no more than 435, the number of seats must be reapportioned according to population changes determined by the decennial census.

Some states gain seats while others lose seats. After the 2010 census Pennsylvania lost one seat, reducing its representation in the House from 19 to 18. Even though the commonwealth’s overall population increased, it did not increase as much as that of several other states in the south and west.  Their representation in Congress increased.

Redistricting refers to changing the boundaries of representative districts in a legislative body. Pennsylvania currently has 18 congressional districts, 203 state House districts and 50 state Senate districts.

 Want to learn more? Information and more resources are available FREE.


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