2020 Census Apportionment Fun

Some years back I wrote a Python script to calculate apportionment, and with the Census Bureau releasing the 2020 data, I decided to do some calculations of various apportionments. Others have noted that New York lost a seat by only 89 people. For starters, which states would have gained (or held) a seat if their populations were 100 000 larger?

  • New York (h)
  • Ohio (h)
  • Idaho
  • West Virginia (h)
  • Delaware
  • Arizona

California will have 52 House members for the next decade. How many seats would there need to be so that all states had that many (this means to get Wyoming to 52)? About 29500. Each one would represent around 11 000 people. (This is barred by the Constitution, which sets the minimum at 30 000…. Though, if a state ever has fewer than 30K persons, it will still get one seat.) If this were possible, California alone would have over 3500 seats.

If each seat represented the constitutional minimum of 30 000, how many would that be? (Equivalent to asking how many to get WY to 20 seats, as they have 577K persons.) About 11 000 representatives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s about as many as are currently employed as adhesive bonding machine operators. (There are currently around 25 000 legislators in the country at various levels, according to the same.)

A middle-case: how many seats to get California to 435 representatives—the current total for the whole House? At 3640 seats, California gets 435 of them. Each seat represents about 96 000 people.

Let’s try something less extreme. How many seats to get Wyoming to two seats? A mere 811, less than double the House’s current size. Each member would have about 300K constituents, still more than in 1911 when the current size of the House was set (about 210K in 1913, per Wikipedia, and it was still under 300K per seat in 1929 when the current law was passed). At 811 seats, 24 states would have up to ten seats, 14 up to 20, and 12 with more than 20.

There’s been talk about Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, becoming states. If they were, then under the current census, DC would get one seat and Puerto Rico four. Those five seats would come from California, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, and Oregon. Assuming all but Montana’s were and stayed Democratic in both cases, it would mostly be a wash in the House. (The census figures do include overseas population for DC, but not for Puerto Rico; it’s unclear if it would have made a difference and I didn’t try to check.)

And if both DC and PR were states, and you wanted WY (and every other state) to have at least two seats, it would take 821 seats. In that case, Puerto Rico would have eight seats.

We can also go back to the first apportionment act, the Apportionment Act of 1792, which set the House at 105 members. You know what’s coming: what if there were only 105 members? California would get 11, and would be the only state with ten or more. Texas would get eight, with both Florida and New York claiming six. A full 27 states would have only one representative.


The United States should clearly expand the House. I favor setting the number such that the smallest state has at least two representatives, so long as every state has a reasonable population to support it. There would be changes to the House in order to handle that many legislators. Some of those changes would be to take advantage of increased human bandwidth, including more total staff, but others which would require limits to how speechmaking could be handled.

Still, the overall effect would be to push more business into committees, where it belongs. The body of the House seldom sees real debate or business, and having too many people to pretend otherwise would be a positive change. Indeed, they would probably assign each member a class and restrict floor activity to a particular class for each day of the week for any kind of open debate (with customs akin to pairing developing to allow for trading by issue). But even then, it would be a limited activity.

The committee-run body makes more sense anyway, as too often legislators outside their expertise already derail important progress of our nation. More members means more committees with more granularity of the scope of each. It would mean more dysfunctional members, but they would also be a smaller percentage due to the size of the body (and they would be heard from less often in the chamber, due to the changes in speaking rules required).

See below for the output for each scenario, with the disclaimer that I did not verify my results. No state redistricting commission (from an alternate universe) should use these results without double-checking!


(2020 apportionment) Seats = 435
'AK:  1', 'AL:  7', 'AR:  4', 'AZ:  9',
'CA: 52', 'CO:  8', 'CT:  5', 'DE:  1',
'FL: 28', 'GA: 14', 'HI:  2', 'IA:  4',
'ID:  2', 'IL: 17', 'IN:  9', 'KS:  4',
'KY:  6', 'LA:  6', 'MA:  9', 'MD:  8',
'ME:  2', 'MI: 13', 'MN:  8', 'MO:  8',
'MS:  4', 'MT:  2', 'NC: 14', 'ND:  1',
'NE:  3', 'NH:  2', 'NJ: 12', 'NM:  3',
'NV:  4', 'NY: 26', 'OH: 15', 'OK:  5',
'OR:  6', 'PA: 17', 'RI:  2', 'SC:  7',
'SD:  1', 'TN:  9', 'TX: 38', 'UT:  4',
'VA: 11', 'VT:  1', 'WA: 10', 'WI:  8',
'WV:  2', 'WY:  1',

(WY parity with 2020 CA) Seats = 29517
'AK:   66', 'AL:  448', 'AR:  269', 'AZ: 638',
'CA: 3528', 'CO:  515', 'CT:  322', 'DE:  88',
'FL: 1923', 'GA:  956', 'HI:  130', 'IA: 285',
'ID:  164', 'IL: 1143', 'IN:  605', 'KS: 262',
'KY:  402', 'LA:  416', 'MA:  627', 'MD: 551',
'ME:  122', 'MI:  899', 'MN:  509', 'MO: 549',
'MS:  264', 'MT:   97', 'NC:  932', 'ND:  70',
'NE:  175', 'NH:  123', 'NJ:  829', 'NM: 189',
'NV:  277', 'NY: 1802', 'OH: 1053', 'OK: 353',
'OR:  378', 'PA: 1160', 'RI:   98', 'SC: 457',
'SD:   79', 'TN:  617', 'TX: 2601', 'UT: 292',
'VA:  771', 'VT:   57', 'WA:  688', 'WI: 526',
'WV:  160', 'WY:   52',

(30K per seat) Seats = 11175
'AK:   25', 'AL: 170', 'AR: 102', 'AZ: 242',
'CA: 1335', 'CO: 195', 'CT: 122', 'DE:  33',
'FL:  728', 'GA: 362', 'HI:  49', 'IA: 108',
'ID:   62', 'IL: 433', 'IN: 229', 'KS:  99',
'KY:  152', 'LA: 157', 'MA: 237', 'MD: 209',
'ME:   46', 'MI: 340', 'MN: 193', 'MO: 208',
'MS:  100', 'MT:  37', 'NC: 353', 'ND:  26',
'NE:   66', 'NH:  47', 'NJ: 314', 'NM:  72',
'NV:  105', 'NY: 682', 'OH: 398', 'OK: 134',
'OR:  143', 'PA: 439', 'RI:  37', 'SC: 173',
'SD:   30', 'TN: 233', 'TX: 985', 'UT: 111',
'VA:  292', 'VT:  22', 'WA: 260', 'WI: 199',
'WV:   61', 'WY:  20',

(CA to 435) Seats = 3640
'AK:   8', 'AL:  55', 'AR:  33', 'AZ: 79',
'CA: 435', 'CO:  63', 'CT:  40', 'DE: 11',
'FL: 237', 'GA: 118', 'HI:  16', 'IA: 35',
'ID:  20', 'IL: 141', 'IN:  75', 'KS: 32',
'KY:  50', 'LA:  51', 'MA:  77', 'MD: 68',
'ME:  15', 'MI: 111', 'MN:  63', 'MO: 68',
'MS:  33', 'MT:  12', 'NC: 115', 'ND:  9',
'NE:  22', 'NH:  15', 'NJ: 102', 'NM: 23',
'NV:  34', 'NY: 222', 'OH: 130', 'OK: 44',
'OR:  47', 'PA: 143', 'RI:  12', 'SC: 56',
'SD:  10', 'TN:  76', 'TX: 320', 'UT: 36',
'VA:  95', 'VT:   7', 'WA:  85', 'WI: 65',
'WV:  20', 'WY:   6',


(Two seats for WY) Seats = 811
'AK:  2', 'AL: 12', 'AR:  7', 'AZ: 18',
'CA: 97', 'CO: 14', 'CT:  9', 'DE:  2',
'FL: 53', 'GA: 26', 'HI:  4', 'IA:  8',
'ID:  5', 'IL: 31', 'IN: 17', 'KS:  7',
'KY: 11', 'LA: 11', 'MA: 17', 'MD: 15',
'ME:  3', 'MI: 25', 'MN: 14', 'MO: 15',
'MS:  7', 'MT:  3', 'NC: 26', 'ND:  2',
'NE:  5', 'NH:  3', 'NJ: 23', 'NM:  5',
'NV:  8', 'NY: 49', 'OH: 29', 'OK: 10',
'OR: 10', 'PA: 32', 'RI:  3', 'SC: 13',
'SD:  2', 'TN: 17', 'TX: 71', 'UT:  8',
'VA: 21', 'VT:  2', 'WA: 19', 'WI: 14',
'WV:  4', 'WY:  2',

(PR/DC as states) Seats = 435
'AK:  1', 'AL:  7', 'AR:  4', 'AZ:  9',
'CA: 51', 'CO:  7', 'CT:  5', 'DC:  1',
'DE:  1', 'FL: 28', 'GA: 14', 'HI:  2',
'IA:  4', 'ID:  2', 'IL: 17', 'IN:  9',
'KS:  4', 'KY:  6', 'LA:  6', 'MA:  9',
'MD:  8', 'ME:  2', 'MI: 13', 'MN:  7',
'MO:  8', 'MS:  4', 'MT:  1', 'NC: 14',
'ND:  1', 'NE:  3', 'NH:  2', 'NJ: 12',
'NM:  3', 'NV:  4', 'NY: 26', 'OH: 15',
'OK:  5', 'OR:  5', 'PA: 17', 'PR:  4',
'RI:  2', 'SC:  7', 'SD:  1', 'TN:  9',
'TX: 38', 'UT:  4', 'VA: 11', 'VT:  1',
'WA: 10', 'WI:  8', 'WV:  2', 'WY:  1',

(Two for WY and has DC/PR as states) Seats = 821
'AK:  2', 'AL: 12', 'AR:  7', 'AZ: 18',
'CA: 97', 'CO: 14', 'CT:  9', 'DC:  2',
'DE:  2', 'FL: 53', 'GA: 26', 'HI:  4',
'IA:  8', 'ID:  5', 'IL: 31', 'IN: 17',
'KS:  7', 'KY: 11', 'LA: 11', 'MA: 17',
'MD: 15', 'ME:  3', 'MI: 25', 'MN: 14',
'MO: 15', 'MS:  7', 'MT:  3', 'NC: 26',
'ND:  2', 'NE:  5', 'NH:  3', 'NJ: 23',
'NM:  5', 'NV:  8', 'NY: 49', 'OH: 29',
'OK: 10', 'OR: 10', 'PA: 32', 'PR:  8',
'RI:  3', 'SC: 13', 'SD:  2', 'TN: 17',
'TX: 71', 'UT:  8', 'VA: 21', 'VT:  2',
'WA: 19', 'WI: 14', 'WV:  4', 'WY:  2',

(Apportionment Act of 1792) Seats = 105
'AK:  1', 'AL:  1', 'AR:  1', 'AZ:  2',
'CA: 11', 'CO:  2', 'CT:  1', 'DE:  1',
'FL:  6', 'GA:  3', 'HI:  1', 'IA:  1',
'ID:  1', 'IL:  4', 'IN:  2', 'KS:  1',
'KY:  1', 'LA:  1', 'MA:  2', 'MD:  2',
'ME:  1', 'MI:  3', 'MN:  2', 'MO:  2',
'MS:  1', 'MT:  1', 'NC:  3', 'ND:  1',
'NE:  1', 'NH:  1', 'NJ:  3', 'NM:  1',
'NV:  1', 'NY:  6', 'OH:  3', 'OK:  1',
'OR:  1', 'PA:  4', 'RI:  1', 'SC:  2',
'SD:  1', 'TN:  2', 'TX:  8', 'UT:  1',
'VA:  2', 'VT:  1', 'WA:  2', 'WI:  2',
'WV:  1', 'WY:  1',

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'??: ???', '??: ???', '??: ???', '??: ???',
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'??  ???', '??:  ??', '??:  ? ', '??: ???',
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'??: ???', '??: ???', '??: ???', '??: ? ?' 
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'??: ???', '??: ???', '??: ???', '??: ?  ',
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 ??: ???'  '??: ?