Data from the 2020 U.S. census shows Americans are moving South and West, shaking up the number of congressional seats in some states. Five of the seven states set to gain House seats are run by Republicans as people flee Democrat strongholds such as California and New York.
Texas stood to gain the most with two House seats while other red states such as Florida, Montana, and North Carolina saw population boosts that granted them one extra seat each. Other western states such as Colorado and Oregon also gained one seat. Blue states like Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, however, all lost seats.
Ohio and West Virginia, both led by Republicans, also lost one seat each. New York suffered the slimmest loss of one of its seats because it was 89 people short.
Other narrow misses included Arizona which some say had the potential to gain a seat but ended up staying the same, and California which was close to keeping all 53 of its districts but instead experienced the third-largest net migration loss ever recorded.
While the political shift is the smallest in reapportionment history, census numbers show that Americans are increasingly eager to leave large progressive states such as California in exchange for redder areas in the South and West. Data also suggests that the nation’s population grew at the “second-slowest pace in history.”
“The first numbers to come out of the 2020 Census show the U.S. population on April 1, 2020 — Census Day — was 331.5 million people, an increase of just 7.4 percent between 2010 and 2020. It is the second most sluggish rate of expansion since the government began taking a census in 1790. In the 1930s, the slowest-growth decade, the rate was 7.3 percent,” The Washington Post wrote.
Congressional maps won’t be redrawn until later this year at the earliest, but the shift in which states hold seats could have an effect on the 2022 midterm elections and give Republicans a chance to regain control of the Democrat-led House of Representatives.