Final Pre-Census Estimates Show Which States Will Become More Powerful After 2020

Decade by decade, representation in the House and in the Electoral College evolves. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Before the decennial redistricting of U.S. House of Representatives seats takes place (in 2021) in the states everyone obsesses about, there will be a reapportionment of House seats among the states, preceded, of course, by the decennial Census. The Census Bureau does regular estimates of what it expects to find prior to the actual Census taking, and the last one of 2019 shows pretty much what we expected in winners and losers, with Texas picking up three seats, Florida two seats, and Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon adding one seat, while Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are each losing a seat. There is certainly a chance that the actual Census will change those numbers, at least at the margins, but the estimates give us a good look at the future.

Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Wolf/Daily Kos

The next reapportionment will continue the very long trend toward Sunbelt gains and Rust Belt losses, though “losers” Alabama and California — and “winners” Montana and Oregon — don’t fit the mold. You can expect some presidential crowing over California’s loss of a House seat and an Electoral College vote, if that’s what happens. But California remains far and away the best-represented state; No. 2 Texas won’t catch it anytime soon.

As someone who has been staring at Electoral College maps for a very long time, I certainly never anticipated the day when Florida would have more EV’s than New York, or Georgia would have more than Michigan. Clearly, a lot of those cars heading south in the winter that I used to see on I-75 around Atlanta weren’t just filled with vacationers.

Pre-Census Estimates Show Reapportionment Winners, Losers