The U.S. Constitution requires that every 10 years we take a count— or a census—of America’s population in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas. The decennial census is the largest peacetime mobilization of the U.S. government, relying on each household to self- report the number of residents and their demographic characteristics. In addition, the census hires hundreds of thousands of temporary staff to help enumerate those who do not respond to the census form, making sure EVERYBODY is counted.
As we approach the 2020 census, the nation has changed considerably with a much healthier economy than nine years ago. It is vitally important that this count be successful and accurate, not only to help track these changes from the last decade but also to preserve our rights of equal representation. The census results determine substantial outcomes; democracy and lots of money are at stake.
Re-apportionment of House seats in Congress
The founding fathers decided that the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives would be apportioned by the number of people in each state. The population totals from the census determine the number of seats each state has.
The interactive map below displays the loss or gain in seats from the previous census, along with the projected change following the upcoming 2020 count. Following the 2010 census, eighteen states saw either a gain or a loss in their representation. Eight states gained at least one representative with Florida and Texas gaining the most with two and four additional seats respectively. Ten states, primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, lost one or more representatives, with New York and Ohio each losing two seats.
Figure 1: Change in Congressional Apportionment from the Previous Census*
* 2020 Projections are based on 2010-18 Change shown in 2018 Population Estimates, Generated by Census Bureau 12/19/2018 and calculated by Election Data Services.