2020 Reapportionment: New York Likely to Lose One Congressional District

On December 23, Election Data Services released its own report on projected congressional reapportionment. The press release  is provided in full below. If reapportionment were to be determined based on 2014 state population estimates, North Carolina and Texas would gain one congressional district each while Pennsylvania and Minnesota would each lose one (Polidata did not include Texas in the winner’s column a few days ago).

As also reflected in the Polidata report, if projected state population numbers are used, New York State is in line to lose one congressional district after the 2020 census is taken.

Full details and data can be found at www.electiondataservices.org under research.

New Census Estimates Show Slight Changes
For Congressional Apportionment Now, But Point to Larger Changes by 2020

New Census Bureau population estimates released today show four states would change their congressional representation compared to what they officially received with the 2010 Census and apportionment process four years ago. This represents a doubling of the number of states in just the past year. The Bureau’s 2013 estimates showed the state of North Carolina would be gaining an additional district (their 14th) if the new population estimates were used for apportionment, while the state of Minnesota would lose a congressional district (going from their current 8 districts down to 7 districts). The new 2014 estimates shows the state of Texas will also gain a district (going from 36 to 37 districts), while the state of Pennsylvania will drop from 18 to 17 districts if apportionment was done with the new numbers. All other states would keep the same number of representatives they were awarded in December, 2010 when the official 2010 Census numbers were released.

While the Census Bureau has suffered budget cut-backs that have eliminated the production of state level population projections for upcoming decades, Election Data Services, Inc. has instead generated a simplified dataset by projecting forward the rates of change in populations from 2010 to 2014 reported by the Bureau within each state out to 2020. Using this new set of data, the apportionment calculations show that between 14 and 17 states could gain or lose districts by
the time the Census is taken in 2020 in six years.

The gainers and losers are:

States Gaining Districts States Loosing Districts
Arizona +1 (from 9 to 10) & Alabama -1 (from 7 to 6)
Calif. +1 (from 53 to 54) Illinois -1 (from 18 to 17)
Colorado +1 (from 7 to 8) Michigan -1 (from 14 to 13)
Florida +1 (from 27 to 28) Minnesota -1 (from 8 to 7)

States Gaining Districts (cont.) States Loosing Districts (cont.)
North Carolina +1 (from 13 to 14) New York -1 (from 27 to 26) &
Oregon +1 (from 5 to 6) & Ohio -1 (from 16 to 15)
Texas +3 (from 36 to 39) Pennsylvania -1 (from 18 to 17)
Virginia +1 (from 11 to 12) & Rhode Island -1 (from 2 to 1)
West Virginia -1 (from 3 to 2)

The states marked by “&” are those where only one of the multiple projection lines showed a change. All other states were consistent in multiple projections.

Kimball Brace, President of Election Data Services, Inc. cautioned users to take the projections as very preliminary and subject to change. “We are only at the midpoint of the decade, and a lot of things could change before the next Census is taken in 2020,” Brace noted. “Having worked with Census data and estimates since the 1970s, it’s important to remember that major events like Katrina and the 2008 recession each changed population growth patterns and that impacted and changed the next apportionment,” he said.

Brace also noted that major changes in the counting process are being planned for 2020 and that reduced budget funding could impact those plans. “It would be ironic that Republican led efforts in the new Congress to cut government spending could cause Republican leaning states like Texas to lose out in apportionment,” said Brace. Texas is the big winner in the new projections, gaining as many as three districts in the study.

The new 2014 estimates also point to how close a number of states stand to gain or lose a district. Most notable are the states of:

Rhode Island – While keeping their two congressional districts, the new data shows the state is now only 21,389 people away from dropping to a single district state. This is down from the 52,481 people margin they had in 2010. At this rate they will be down to just one district in the next several years, the first time this has occurred to Rhode Island since 1789 when the nation was formed.

Oregon – The new data indicates Oregon is also close to gaining a new district. The new estimates show the state is just 53,161 people away from gaining a 6th district. But the projection data indicates it’s not a sure thing for 2020, as one data run found the state still 15,058 away from gaining the district.

Texas – The Census estimates showed the state gained the most population of any state in the past year, a gain of 451,321 people. That was enough to gain a congressional district in the new study. Each of the projection calculations shows the state just gained their last district, each time taking a district in the 430 to 435 range. Election Data Services, Inc. “2014 Reapportionment Analysis”

Virginia – The state hasn’t always been estimated to be close to gaining a district, but one projection method shows the state gaining the very last district (#435) with only 13,929 people to spare.

The 2014 population estimates have not been statistically adjusted for any known undercount. No estimates were also not provided for U.S. military personnel overseas. This component has in the past been counted by the Census Bureau and allocated to the states. Overseas military personnel have been a factor in the apportionment formula for the past several decades, including the switching of the final district in 2000 that went from Utah to North Carolina.

In both 1995 and 2005 the Census Bureau released population projections for states that went 25 years into the future. However, their website now says “The U.S. Census Bureau does not have a current set of state population projections and currently has no plans to produce them.” Earlier this month the Bureau did release single nationwide population projections by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin for the time period of 2014 to 2060.

Past apportionment studies by Election Data Services, Inc. can be found at https://www.electiondataservices.com/reapportionment-studies/. A historical chart on the number of districts each state received each decade from 1789 to current is also available at this web address.

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