Census Effects Representation
The United States takes a census of its citizens every ten years. The census is not just used to measure population change but also to evaluate the population density of areas, track changing demographics, and assist in fund allocation for social programs. However, the most important element of the population count is that it determines the number of seats in the House of Representatives allocated to each state, and to that extent the amount of power that each state has to effect change in the federal government.
There are a finite number of seats available and so for states to win seats other states must lose. The biggest predicted winners of this census are Texas who is set to gain three seats and Florida who will most likely gain two. Election Data Services has also come to the prediction that Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon will each most likely gain one House seat each. While states such as New York, Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and California are expected to lose one seat each minimum. Some states have an ever-changing population and move up or down with every census while others such as California have never lost congressional districts in their history. However, residents fleeing a high cost of living and ever-increasing taxes could mean the state’s first loss since it became a state in 1850.
Not only does the census affect how many House members each state may elect but it also determines the number of Electoral College votes per state during presidential elections. Electoral College votes are determined by the number of House members each state has plus its two senators.
When the final census results come in they will first be delivered to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who will then transmit them to President Biden, after Biden reviews the results, the Census Bureau will then publicly release the results in a news conference. When states are given the official numbers it will prompt a frenzy to redraw congressional districts in preparation for the 2022 midterm elections. Undeniably, the redrawing will prompt fights over gerrymandering with every politician trying to draw the lines in a way that helps their party the most.
When the census data is officially released we will have a much better understanding of what the midterm election will look like as well as the 2024 presidential election.