Census: States in South, West gain House seats, but fewer than expected

Census: States in South, West gain House seats, but fewer than expected
A pamphlet with 2020 Census information is seen at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Calif., on August 27, 2020. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- As expected, Republican-dominated states in the fast-growing U.S. South and West gained seats in the House of Representatives under U.S. Census Bureau population data released Monday.

Texas, Florida and North Carolina, each of which voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020, gained a total of four seats via reapportionment as the result of the first set of official 2020 Census figures published by the agency.


Confirming analysts' predictions, the figures showed a significant shift of population to the South and West. Those gains, however, weren't as steep as expected, resulting in fewer new House seats than the states had than hoped for, according to the Census count.

Based on preliminary figures released in December, analysts had expected Texas to gain three seats while Florida would add two, reflecting population shifts away from Democratic strongholds of the industrial "Rust Belt" states of the Northeast and the Midwest.


However, the official figures showed Texas gaining just two House seats and Florida one.

In another surprise, Arizona -- another GOP-dominated Sun Belt state -- had expected to gain a seat from the 2020 Census count but failed to do so.

Meanwhile, Alabama, Minnesota and Rhode Island, each of which had expected to lose a seat, avoided that fate, while New York lost only one seat instead of the feared two.

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Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one seat, while California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost a single seat.

In all, 13 states saw their House representation affected in one direction or another, fewer than the 17 widely predicted.

"This is a slightly smaller seat shift than expected" and represented less of a victory than expected for Republicans, tweeted Cook Political Report Editor Dave Wasserman.

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"The net effect: if the 2020 election had been held under these new counts, Biden would have won with 303 [electoral votes] (instead of 306)," he wrote. "Under most projections, he would have won with just 302 votes, so Census result is a tiny bit better for Dems than expected."

Overall, the figures put the total U.S. population on April 1, 2020, at 331.4 million -- a bit larger than the December estimate of 329.5 million. The population increased by 22.7 million, or 7.4% from 308.7 million counted in the 2010 Census.


The most populous state is California at 39.5 million, while Texas gained the most numerically since 2010 (nearly 4 million to 29.1 million).

The data presented Monday was originally scheduled to be released by Dec. 31, but that deadline was missed after the Census Bureau postponed in-person counting for months due to the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters afflicting many parts of the country.

The count was disrupted last summer when the Trump administration pressured the agency to stop census data collection early -- a move that was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by a coalition of groups, led by the National Urban League, that argued the truncated schedule could hurt communities of color -- as an inaccurate count could skew the allocation of seats in the House.

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