Based on yesterday’s Census Bureau population estimates, New York is still projected to lose only one congressional district after the 2020 census, despite the estimated population loss reported yesterday.
Here’s the Election Data Services, Inc. congressional reapportionment projection announcement:
No Change in Apportionment Allocations
With New 2016 Census Estimates; But Greater Change Likely by 2020
New Census Bureau population estimates for 2016 released today shows no change from lastyear’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 Texaswould 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 atlarge seat they’ve had for the last three decades back to a two-member house delegation) on topof 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.
Using either methodology the population projections points towards a ten (10) seat change across
the nation come 2020. States that will gain single seats include Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Oregon and maybe Montana, while Florida is set to gain two congressional districts and
Texas could gain either three or four seats. Single seat losses will again occur in the Midwest and Northeast sections of the nation, where Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia will each lose a seat and Illinois could lose either one or two seats. All other states would keep the same number of representatives they were awarded in December, 2010 when the official 2010 Census numbers were released.
Using the new sets of projected 2020 data, the apportionment calculations show that 15 or 16 states could gain or lose districts by the time the Census is taken in 2020 in four years. The
gainers and losers are:
States Gaining Districts (6 or 7) States Losing Districts (9)
Arizona +1 (from 9 to 10) Alabama -1 (from 7 to 6)
Colorado +1 (from 7 to 8) Illinois -1 or -2 (from 18 to 17 or 16)
Florida +2 (from 27 to 29) Michigan -1 (from 14 to 13)
Montana even or +1 (from At-large to 2) Minnesota -1 (from 8 to 7)
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 or +4 (from 36 to 39 or 40) Pennsylvania -1 (from 18 to 17)
Rhode Island -1 (from 2 to 1)
West Virginia -1 (from 3 to 2)
Earlier in the decade’s estimates indicated that both California and Virginia could have enough
population to gain another seat in 2020, but both last year’s study and this report based on the
new Census Bureau data for 2016 and projected to 2020 shows those states just missing the cut.
The short-term projection method showed that California, in fact captured the last available seat
(#435) just missing an actual loss in the delegation. There are just 435 congressional districts allocated to the states under a 1941 law capping the number of seats. Virginia’s additional seat
came in at seat number 439 (slipping two positions), missing the cut off by 107,282 people (nearly
double the margin reported last year).
The projections also demonstrate how close states are to the magic 435 cut off. Using the longterm projection model, Texas’s fourth additional seat occupies the magic 435 position, gaining that seat by just 41,029 people. Pennsylvania has the potential of losing two seats, having captured position 434 or 433 (depending on the projection methodology) by less than 90,000 people.
Kimball Brace, President of Election Data Services, Inc. cautioned users to take the projections
as very preliminary and subject to change. “The change in administration could have a profound impact on population change and growth in this nation,” Brace noted. “Having worked with Census data and estimates since the 1970s, it is 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 in the works 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 three or four districts in the study.
The new 2016 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 with the 2016 numbers, the new data shows the state is now only 5,569 people away from dropping to a single district state. This has steadily decreased over the decade so far. Last year the state was 16,130 people away from losing its’ second seat, and the year before the margin was 21,389 in population The 2010 Census gave Rhode Island their second seat but only 52,481 people to spare. 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. This is confirmed in the 2020 study data They would join seven other states that also just have a single representative in the US House (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming). Note that one projection method shows Montana gaining a second seat. Wisconsin – The long-term trend methodology shows Wisconsin keeping it’s 8th congressional district, but with only 72,639 people to spare. It captured seat #433, just two away from the 435 cut-off point.
Because congressional apportionment also impacts the Electoral College and the vote for President, Election Data Services took the 2020 projections for each state and applied the Presidential election results from the past five Presidential contests to determine the Electoral College outcomes in the past 16 years. The study shows that none of the presidential contests would have elected a different presidential candidate using the new apportionment counts but they would have been more Republican in nature. For example, in 2012 President Obama would still have won the Electoral College, but with three less votes (329 vs 332) that he won at the time of the voting. The biggest change would have occurred in the 2000 presidential election where George Bush would have gained an additional 17 electoral votes had the new 2020 apportionment projections determined the number of congressional seats in each state.
The 2016 Electoral College vote that took place yesterday was muddled because 7 electors voted for a different candidate than what they had pledged based on the vote totals. As a result, the overall change in candidate votes based on the new apportionment numbers shows no difference in the bottom line results. President elect Trump’s ability to carry states that will be losing congressional seats in 2020 also contributed to a reversal of the pattern depicted in previous elections.
The 2016 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.
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.