(April 2005) New state population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the U.S. population continues to move south and west, a trend that is likely to affect the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives after the 2010 Census.

If the new projections accurately foretell the 2010 Census results, 15 states will gain or lose House seats (see table). In the Northeast, New York would lose two seats, and Massachusetts and Pennsylvania would each lose one seat. In the Midwest, Ohio would lose two seats, and one seat would be lost each in Illinois and Iowa. The South would lose one seat each in Alabama and Missouri, but would add six seats in other states: three in Texas, two in Florida, and one in Georgia. The West would gain one additional seat each in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.

Projected Change in House Seats in 2010, by State

State House Seats Projected House Seats  
  2000 2010 +/- Red/Blue (2004)
Alabama 7 6 -1 R
Arizona 8 9 1 R
California 53 54 1 B
Florida 25 27 2 R
Georgia 13 14 1 R
Illinois 19 18 -1 B
Iowa 5 4 -1 R
Massachusetts 10 9 -1 B
Missouri 9 8 -1 R
Nevada 3 4 1 R
New York 29 27 -2 B
Ohio 18 16 -2 R
Pennsylvania 19 18 -1 B
Texas 32 35 3 R
Utah 3 4 1 R

Source: Calculations based on data from Census Bureau, State Interim Population Projections by Age and Sex: 2004-2030, accessed online at www.census.gov/population/www/projections/projectionsagesex.html on April 28, 2005.

If current population trends continue beyond 2010, losses and gains in House seats by 2030 would be more dramatic. New York could lose six House seats by 2030, and Ohio and Pennsylvania could lose four seats each. Florida, which already has 25 seats in the House of Representatives, could gain nine more, bringing the total to 34. Texas is projected to gain eight additional seats by 2030.

Implications for the Red/Blue Balance

The state population shifts projected by Census Bureau might also have implications for future U.S. presidential elections. "Red" states that voted for George Bush in the 2004 election are projected to gain four House seats after the 2010 Census. By 2030, Red states are projected to gain an additional 13 seats, for a total of 17.

In turn, many of the states that voted for John Kerry, including Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, are projected to lose House seats during the next 25 years. While the populations of "Blue" states in the Northeast and Midwest are still expected to increase during the next three decades, the Census Bureau projects much faster population growth in states in the South and West, which would result in a geographic redistribution of Electoral College votes.

Mark Mather is deputy director of PRB's Domestic Programs.

For More Information

U.S. Census Bureau, "State Population Projections," www.census.gov/population/www/projections/stproj.html.