US marks slowest population growth since the Depression, number of House seats to change in several states

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The United States population rose to 331,449,281, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That increase is 7.4% from the previous Census in 2010 and is 2nd slowest growth ever.

The delayed numbers from the 2020 Census were released on Monday. Included in the release is the reapportionment of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the number of votes in the Electoral College. Seven seats will shift among 13 different states.

The nation’s political center of gravity shifted further to the Republican-led South and West with Texas, Florida and other Sun Belt states gaining congressional seats while chillier cities like New York and Ohio lost them.

The numbers chart familiar American migration patterns, and confirm one historic marker: For the first time in 170 years of statehood, California is losing a congressional seat, a result of slowed migration to the nation’s most populous state, which was once a symbol of the country’s expansive frontier.

The numbers, along with more detailed data expected later this year, will be used by state legislatures or independent commissions to redraw political maps to account for shifts in population.

The 2020 census faced a once-in-a-century coronavirus pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, allegations of political interference with the Trump administration’s failed effort to add a citizenship question, fluctuating deadlines and lawsuits. Division of federal money to the states is also a stake.

Gaining seats

  • Texas will gain two seats (new total: 38)
  • Montana will gain one seat (new total: 2)
  • Colorado will gain one seat (new total: 8)
  • Oregon will gain one seat (new total: 6)
  • Florida will gain one seat (new total: 27)
  • North Carolina will gain one seat (new total: 14)

Losing seats

  • Pennsylvania loses one seat (new total: 17)
  • California loses one seat (new total: 52) – First time ever losing a seat
  • New York loses one seat (new total: 26)
  • West Virginia loses one seat (new total: 2)
  • Ohio loses one seat (new total: 15)
  • Illinois loses one seat (new total: 17)
  • Michigan loses one seat (new total: 13)

Where changes happened by region

  • South: 10.2% growth
  • West: 9.2% growth
  • Northeast: 4.1% growth
  • Midwest: 3.1% growth

The release of the apportionment numbers Monday afternoon comes almost four months later than planned because of delays caused by the pandemic and anomalies discovered in the data as the numbers were being crunched.

The numbers are state population counts that show how many residents each state has gained or lost over the past decade.

The redistricting data includes counts of population by race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing occupancy status at geographic levels as small as neighborhoods, and they are used for drawing voting districts for Congress and state legislatures. Unlike in past decades when the data were released to states on a flow basis, the 2020 redistricting data will be made available to the states all at once, according to the Census Bureau.

The 435 seats in the House of Representatives are divided among the states based on population. As growing states get more congressional seats because of population gains, that means fewer seats for states that lost population or didn’t grow as fast.

By the end of the September, the Census Bureau will send the redistricting counts to all 50 states. Before the pandemic, the deadline for finishing the redistricting data had been March 31.

The delayed release creates a chain reaction in the political world. Several states will not get the data until after their legal deadlines for drawing new districts, requiring them to either rewrite laws or ask courts to allow them a free pass due to the delay. Candidates may not know yet whether they will live in the district they want to run in by the filing deadline. In some cases, if fights over new maps drag into the New Year, primaries may have to be delayed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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