NEW YORK — New York will lose a single House seat over 89 people.
The Empire State’s dwindling delegation in Congress will shrink by just one member based on population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday, the first time in roughly eight decades that New York has lost fewer than two seats.
New York, surprisingly, nearly kept all of its 27 House of Representatives seats in the politically charged once-a-decade reapportionment process that dictates the distribution of the 435 seats based on population changes.
An 89-person shortfall meant New York lost one member of its delegation while Minnesota held on to all of its eight seats.
“If New York had had 89 more people, they would have received one more seat,” said Kristin Koslap, a senior technical expert at the Census Bureau. “The last seat went to Minnesota, and New York was next in line.
“And if you do the algebra equation that determines how many they would have needed, it’s 89 people. But that’s if you hold the population of all other states constant,” she added.
The slim margin is sure to raise questions about the census being conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ramifications of the loss will play out as New York’s redistricting process gets underway.
An independent commission is slated to take up the process, but could wind up deadlocked, which would mean the Democratic-led state Legislature then takes over redrawing district lines.
New York was believed to be certain to lose one seat and in danger of losing a second seat. But population growth was somewhat more robust than expected in the Northeast and Midwest and less than expected in fast-growing Sun Belt states.
“This is a uniquely American ritual,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who said 331 million people are estimated to live in the U.S. as of April 1, 2020.
Other winners included Rhode Island and Alabama, both of which kept the same number of seats and defied predictions that they would each lose a district.
Losers were Texas, which gained two seats instead of three; Florida, which picked up one seat instead of two, and Arizona, which remained the same.
California lost a seat for the first time ever as torrid growth slowed in the Golden State.
Despite the loss of the House seat, New York’s population grew by about 4% from 19,421,055 in 2010 to 20,215,751 last year. While the data show the state gaining about 800,000 people, it also saw New Yorkers move to other states such as Florida, which saw a more rapid rise in residents. The Sunshine State gained about 2.6 million people over the past decade.
“We do know from our population estimates that the State of New York has experienced negative net domestic migration, meaning there were more people moving out of the State of New York than moving into the state,” said Victoria Velkoff, associate director for demographic programs at the Census Bureau.
It’s not yet clear how voters’ districts will change. That process hinges on more detailed census data that aren’t expected until August, at the earliest.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he hopes the one-less congressional seat is not ultimately subtracted from New York City given the city’s efforts to take the census during a pandemic.
“They managed to reach the same response rate in 2020 that happened 10 years earlier in 2010. That’s really extraordinary,” he said. “Hopefully, since that happened, New York City will be judged more accurately, and if there is to be the loss of a seat, it won’t be here, it will be someplace else.”
(The New York Daily News' Michael Gartland contributed to this report.)