Alexis Farmer is a Research and Program Associate in the Democracy Program, where she focuses on issues pertaining to redistricting and campaign finance reform. Alexis graduated with honors at the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Public Policy and minor in International Studies. Her policy focus area centered on the intersection between education, criminal justice, and urban planning.
Prior to joining the Brennan Center in 2016, Alexis interned with Data Driven Detroit, where she advocated for the Detroit Police Department to join the White House’s Police Data Initiative and release data that would help improve community policing practices. Alexis has had the opportunity to work in each level of government and several nonprofits on issues relating to government accountability and transparency, education, and criminal justice.
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Potential Shifts in Political Power after the 2020 Census
The results of the 2020 Census will determine the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for the upcoming decade. If current population trends hold up for the remainder of the decade, there likely will be substantial shifts in congressional representation come reapportionment time.
Since 2010, the country’s population has grown and shifted considerably. Population growth in western and southern states has outpaced the Midwest and the Northeast. The ten fastest growing states between 2016-2017 all were in the South and West, including Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. Since 2010, population in the South has increased by 7.6 percent. The West has seen a population increase of 7.3 percent. Meanwhile, from 2010-2017, states in the Northeast and Midwest regions have grown more slowly than the 5.3 percent U.S. average population growth rate. In the Northeast particularly, population growth has lagged behind every other region in the country this decade.
According to estimates prepared by Election Data Services, the biggest shifts in apportionment will likely be seen in Florida and Texas. Florida is expected to gain up to two additional congressional seats, bringing its total delegation to 29 seats starting in 2022. Fastgrowing Texas is likely to gain up to three congressional seats after reapportionment, which would give the state 39 seats in Congress. Many western states that are seeing increases in in-migration – Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon – also will gain at least one seat.
The estimates also signal likely seat losses for the Midwest and the Northeast. As a result of their population decline and slower rate of growth, Election Data Services projects that Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are among nine states expected to lose at least one congressional seat in the next reapportionment. If this happens, Michigan would move from 14 to 13, Ohio would move from 16 to 15, and Pennsylvania would move from 18 to 17.
Figure 1: “Some Changes in Apportionment Allocations with New 2017 Census Estimates; But Greater Change Likely by 2020,” Election Data Services. December 26, 2018. https://www.electiondataservices.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NR_Appor17c3wTablesMapsC2.pdf.
Of course, reapportionment affects not only congressional representation, but also each state’s weight in the Electoral College. These shifts will also affect the path to the White House for candidates running in 2024 and 2028.
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