Census: California to Lose Congressional Seat for First Time in History

San Francisco U-Haul (Thomas Hawk / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Thomas Hawk / Flickr / CC / Cropped

California is set to lose a congressional seat for the first time in its history, after data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday revealed that the South and Mountain West gained population relative to California, the Midwest, and Northeast.

The Los Angeles Times observed:

California will lose one seat in Congress for the first time in state history, while Texas and Florida are among the states that will see its representation increase, according to population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday that give the first glimpse of the coming decade’s congressional landscape.

The new apportionment figures — which uses the decennial head count to allocate representation in the U.S. House of Representatives across the states — are a crucial building block in mapping the country’s political geography. The details arrived months later than in a typical census as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic scrambling the standard timeline. The more granular data necessary to draw district boundaries are not expected until the fall, resulting in an uncommonly compressed and chaotic redistricting process.

New York, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost a seat, in addition to California. Texas gained two seats, and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one.

California has seen an exodus of middle-class residents to conservative states, as residents seek lower taxes, greater job opportunities, a friendlier business environment, and a lower cost of living. Highly skilled individuals continue to arrive, as well as poor households, particularly migrant families, but other parts of the country are growing as a proportion of the overall population at California’s expense.

As a result, California’s delegation to the U.S. House will fall from 53 to 52 seats, which will still be the nation’s largest, by far. Redistricting will begin in the fall, and new maps are not expected until early 2022.

California was among the first states to use a “nonpartisan” redistricting commission, though ProPublica reported in 2011 that Democrats had gamed the new system.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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