Census Estimates Show California, New York Losing House Seats to Demographic Change

Tobias Hoonhout

Census Bureau estimates released Monday reportedly showed the country’s slowest population growth rate in a century, as demographic shifts to the south bring impending changes to the House of Representatives.

“While natural increase is the biggest contributor to the U.S. population increase, it has been slowing over the last five years,” Sandra Johnson, Census Bureau demographer, said in the release. “Natural increase, or when the number of births is greater than the number of deaths, dropped below 1 million in 2019 for the first time in decades.”

Monday’s estimates, which are close approximations of changes to state populations for the last year which ended July 1, project a seat shuffle in the House of Representatives, with Texas and six other states poised to gain seats, while California, New York, and six other states look set to lose representatives.

The upcoming reapportionment is a smaller change than after the 2010 census, when eight states gained 12 House seats from 10 states.

California, which recorded its lowest level of population growth in over a century, lost an estimated 200,000 people to domestic migration over the last year and is expected to lose a Congressional seat for the first time in its history. New York, which the Census estimates lost over 180,000 to domestic migration, will likely lose another House seat after losing two in 2010.

Texas, which gained four seats in 2010, is expected to gain an additional two, while Florida, Arizona, and others are also slated to add seats as demographics shift south.

The Census Bureau estimates another fall in net international migration, a statistic that has steadily fallen since 2016. From 2018 to 2019, migration fell to 595,348, down from a peak this decade of 1,046,709 in 2016.

42 of 50 states also had a negative birth rate over the last year, with West Virginia having the worst natural decrease of over 4,600 more deaths than births from 2018 to 2019.

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