(NEXSTAR) – The Census Bureau released data from the 2020 Census Monday, including which states will lose – and gain – congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Dr. Ron S. Jarmin, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, announced in a press conference that the seven states that will lose a seat are California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
For California, it’s the first time the state has ever lost a U.S. House seat and reduces the the delegation from 53 to 52.
In New York, a state with more than 19 million residents, the difference between maintain all of the congressional seats and losing one turned out to be just 89 people.
“It’s part of the standard of the method of equal proportions,” said Kristin Koslap, senior technical expert for the 2020 Census. “It all depends on the overall proportion of all the states in the nation, and so, for example, it’s not unusual for there to be a small margin like that.”
The method of equal proportions, adopted by Congress in 1941, is used to distribute the 435 seats, with each state automatically receiving one of the first 50 and the following seats given out based on a “priority” value.
It’s not unheard of for such a slim margin to make a huge difference in the apportionment process – Koslap said that in 1970 Utah needed just 231 people to take the final seat.
Thanks to its rapidly growing population, Texas gained two seats, bringing its total to 38. Texas has never lost a seat.
The states that will have the most seats in the House are California, Florida, New York and Texas.
The data also revealed that Utah has seen the largest population increase from 2010 to 2020 and West Virginia the largest decrease.
Altogether, the U.S. population rose to 331,449,281, the Census Bureau said, a 7.4 increase that was the second-slowest ever.
The reshuffling of the congressional map moved seats from blue states to red ones, giving Republicans a clear, immediate advantage. The party will have complete control of drawing the congressional maps in Texas, Florida and North Carolina — states that are adding four seats.
In contrast, though Democrats control the process in Oregon, Democratic lawmakers there have agreed to give Republicans an equal say in redistricting in exchange for a commitment to stop blocking bills. In Democratic Colorado, a nonpartisan commission will draw the lines, meaning the party won’t have total control in a single expanding state’s redistricting.
It’s been a bumpy road getting this far. 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.