California loses seat in House after census tally

Ben Irwin

California loses a congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, sees more people moving out than moving in

SACRAMENTO – California will lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in history, the U.S. Census Bureau announced April 26 upon the release of the initial data from the 2020 decennial census.

California clocked in at a population of 39,538,223, it’s largest census population to date—there were more births than deaths—but did have a negative net domestic migration, where there were more people moving out of California than moving in.

The country as a whole grew at nearly the slowest rate on record this decade at 7.4%, second to only the 7.3% increase from 1930 to 1940. The West, South and Midwest regions of the country all experienced slower growth than the previous decade, and seven House seats will shift among 13 states, the smallest number in any decade since 1941 when current apportionment began. Historically, 84 seats have shifted to the West and the South since 1941.

Texas will gain two seats and Florida will gain one seat, and are among the historically republican states to gain seats from historically democratic ones, potentially erasing the democratic majority in the House. The average representation per House member is now 761,169, up about 50,000 from the last decade.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimundo said census data is used for much more than just calculating apportionment for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as state and local officials and nonprofits all use census data to make decisions.

“We use the data to decide how many teachers we need in our schools, how much funding we need for public housing programs, where to locate a business or healthcare, where to build new roads,” Raimundo said. “We use the data to make sure the economy’s working for everyone.”

Raimundo said the data used for redistricting will be available no later than Sept. 30. With California losing a seat at the table, congressional districts will need to be redrawn accordingly in addition to new population and demographic data, potentially drawing some seats out of Tulare County.

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