The Bureau of the Census reapportions congressional representation every decade following the completion of the decennial Census. Most reapportionment estimates released in December 2019 agreed (EDS & PoliData), but the impact of the novel coronavirus on the 2020 Census has thrown those estimates into a greater degree of uncertainty than usual.
Fair Lines America Foundation took the July 1, 2019 estimates of the resident population of the United States from the Census Bureau and applied a weighted average growth rate to produce a reasonable forecast for the 2020 reapportionment.
The Forecast as of December 2019
Texas looks to gain three new members and Florida could gain two. Four western states (Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and Oregon) would expand their delegations while North Carolina may gain the 14th seat it just missed in 2010.
California is projected to lose a Congressional seat for the first time since it joined the Union. Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all appear likely to lose again and Rhode Island is poised to join the ranks of At-Large states. West Virginia would replace Rhode Island as one of five states with only two members, Alabama could lose a seat for the first time since 1960, and Minnesota is on the verge of losing a seat for the first time since 1950.
The migration of representation from the Northeast and Upper Midwest to the South and West continues a decades-old reapportionment trend.
Post-2020 District Populations
The Bureau of the Census reapportions in order to bring the number of seats a state has in alignment with the number of people residing in that state. Districts (if drawn) are then balanced so that no two districts have large population disparities from one another. This leads to equality of populations within states, but an increasing gap between the largest and smallest seats in Congress.
The 2010 decennial census found a 426,000-person population gap between the largest and smallest districts. If estimates hold, the next round of reapportionment and subsequent redistricting would see that gap grow to more than 522,000 residents.
The largest districts in the country by population will be the At-Large seats in Rhode Island (1,060,144) and Delaware (979,999) followed by the two seats in Idaho (906,656 and 906,655) and West Virginia (891,273 and 891,272).
The smallest districts in the country will be Montana’s two districts (both at 537,769), the At-Large districts in Wyoming (577,798) and Vermont (624,006), and the three Nebraska districts (all at 647,170).