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

New figures from the U.S. Census ahead of the 2020 decennial count suggest that California could lose a seat in Congress for the first time in its history. While other “Sun Belt” states stand to gain congressional representation, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing U.S. Census Bureau figures on state population changes through July 1, California — once a symbol of the nation’s westward growth — will likely lose a congressional seat. The Journal reported that California will join the cold states of the Northeast and Midwest in losing political clout: Based on Monday’s figures, Texas is poised to gain two congressional seats, and Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon are expected to gain one. Eight states are expected to lose one seat: California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. The actual reapportionment calculation will take place by December 2020, with its details worked out in 2021. Each state will redraw its legislative maps, and those that have more than one congressional seat will redraw districts as well. The shift of political power away from the Northeast and Midwest toward the Southeast and Southwest is the result of residents flocking to states with warm weather, strong job growth, cheaper housing and, in some cases, lower taxes. The likely loss in representation would come despite California helping to lead the “resistance” to President Donald Trump’s proposal to add a question to the Census asking respondents if they are U.S. citizens. California and other states feared that they could lose congressional seats if they were subsequently apportioned based on the number of citizens rather than the number of residents; California is a prime destination for immigrations, including illegal ones. The Court ruled against the administration — one of the few times it has done so. California may lose a seat anyway. Losing one of its 53 seats “would also mean the loss of one vote in the electoral college” to determine the presidency, Capitol Weekly noted earlier this year.

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