The Census Bureau released the initial findings of its 2020 population count on Monday, and the data will lead to a recalculation of the number of U.S. House of Representatives seats allocated to each state, which could upset the balance. of power in Washington. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will lose a seat in Congress. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon and Florida will get one seat, while Texas will add two.
The changes are less than what many analysts had predicted. Consulting firm Election Data Services, for example, predicted in December that Arizona would win one seat and that Texas would win three and Florida two. It also saw New York lose up to two seats and Rhode Island lose one. Republicans retained control of most state legislative chambers after the 2020 elections, and the Republican Party has control of 27 of the 50 governorates, putting the party in a strong position to redraw legislative maps of a a way that increases your chances of winning seats during the 2022 congressional elections. Texas, Florida, and North Carolina may be the places where Republicans wield this power most effectively, since the party has full control over the redistricting process in those jurisdictions. Republicans hold the governorships and majorities in both the Texas and Florida legislative houses. In North Carolina, the governor is a Democrat, but cannot veto redistribution measures passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. At the same time, many longtime Republican strongholds in the South and West have seen their populations grow from an influx of people to major metropolitan areas where voters are more likely to lean Democratic, a trend that could complicate the efforts of the Republican Party to redraw maps of Congress in a way that favors them. Democrats control the House of Representatives by a margin of 218-212, with 6 vacancies. The Census Bureau found that the total U.S. population grew 7.4% between 2010 and 2020, to 331,449,281, the slowest rate of growth of any decade in history outside of the 1930s, during the Great Depression. The fastest growing state in the Union was Utah, which grew 18.4%, while West Virginia declined 3.2%, making it the state that lost most of its population during the last decade.