Updated Friday, April 30
Texas’ gain of almost four million residents will add two seats in the United States House of Representatives, according to 2020 Census data released April 26. With the second highest population at 29,145,505, Texas will now have 38 congressional representatives and 40 Electoral College votes.
Five states, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon, will add one seat each. Seven states, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, will each lose one.
Each decade the census’ population count plays an important role in congressional apportionment, which distributes the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the states in proportion to their populations.
Included in the count are residents of the 50 states, plus the overseas military and federal civilian employees and their dependents living with them overseas who could be allocated to a home state.
The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are excluded as they do not have voting seats in Congress.
The U.S. Census Bureau delivered the first results of the 2020 Census to President Joe Biden April 26 for apportionment. The President forwards this to the 117th Congress and the reapportioned 118th Congress will convene January 2023.
Since the first census in 1790, five methods of apportionment have been used. The current Method of Equal Proportions was adopted by congress in 1941 and assigns seats in the House according to a "priority" value determined by multiplying the population of a state by a "multiplier."
Each of the 50 states is given one seat of the total 435. The next, or 51st seat, goes to the state with the highest priority value and becomes that state's second seat. This continues until all seats have been assigned.
During the first census in 1790, the U.S. was home to 3.9 million people. Over the last century, our nation has tripled in size and, as of April 1, 2020, has grown to 331,449,281.
More than two centuries ago, each member of the House represented about 34,000 residents. Since then, it has more than quadrupled in size, from 105 to 435 seats. Based on the 2020 Census, each member will represent an average of 761,169 residents, an increase of more than 50,000 since 2010.
Derailed by the pandemic, legal battles, and fluctuating deadlines, initial results of the 2020 Census were originally set to be delivered to the President by Dec. 31. Now, the Census Bureau is working to complete redistricting data, which includes local counts states need to redraw their legislative boundaries, by Sept. 30.
With Texas’ legislative session ending soon, the delayed deadline is expected to require Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session in the fall.
The Census Bureau will continue to release results of the 2020 Census over the next several months.
Not only are the results used to determine congressional representation, but also dictate how more than $675 billion in federal funds are spent in support of each state and county for the next decade.
It also helps decide how funds are assigned to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.
The data collected is used to plan new roads, emergency services, and bring new businesses and homes to the area. Communities rely on census statistics to plan for public schools, childcare, early intervention services for children with special needs, housing support, and much more.