California Will Likely Lose Congressional Seat for First Time Ever, Census Shows

December 30, 2019 Updated: December 30, 2019
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California is one of eight states expected to lose a congressional seat, according to Census figures released on Dec. 30.

If the state lost a seat, it would be the first time ever.

California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are expected to lose one seat, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the state population totals released on Monday.

The figures also suggest Texas will gain two congressional seats.

Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon are each expected to gain one.

The Census showed the natural increase of population (births minus deaths) dropped below one million in decades due to fewer births and more deaths.

Epoch Times Photo
A large crowd of people shop during a Black Friday sales event at Macy’s flagship store on 34th St. in New York City, on Nov. 22, 2018. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

“While natural increase is the biggest contributor to the U.S. population increase, it has been slowing over the last five years,” said Dr. Sandra Johnson, a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau, in a statement. “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.”

The population was 328,239,523 in 2019, growing by 0.5 percent, or 1.5 million people, between 2018 and 2019.

Out of the four regions of the country, the South saw the largest growth. The growth was primarily driven by natural increase and net domestic migration. The Northeast region saw a population decrease, declining by about 63,000 people, which was mainly due to net domestic migration (minus 294,331).

New York lost the most population out of 10 states that lost population; California didn’t lose population, but saw a small increase. California saw the largest net domestic migration loss (minus 203,414), followed by New York (minus 180,649) and New Jersey (minus 48,946).

Slower Growth for Nation's Population
A graph by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the U.S. population’s natural increase dropped below 1 million for the first time in decades. (U.S. Census Bureau)

State leaders attributed the loss to a shortage of housing.

“Our failure to build enough housing is at the heart of CA’s challenges: It’s exploding housing costs; It’s fueling homelessness & poverty; It’s creating sprawl, increasing traffic, commutes & wildfire risk,” state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat representing California’s 11th District, said in a statement.

“The cost of housing is the defining quality-of-life concern for people across this state. That’s why California passed the nation’s strongest statewide renter protection legislation to combat the housing crisis. #CaliforniaForAll,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

After the 2010 Census, Texas gained four seats and Florida gained two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington each gained one.

New York and Ohio lost two each. Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania each lost one.

California set another first in that census as it didn’t gain a seat for the first time since it became a state.

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