Republican states get extra seats after U.S. Census

The US House of Representatives will look slightly different next year after a new ten-year census. Predominantly Republican states like Texas and Florida get seats, while Democratic states like New York and California lose seats.

The composition of the House of Representatives, similar to the Dutch House of Representatives, is determined on the basis of the number of inhabitants per state. For example, Texas now has 36 delegates, that will be 38, and a total of 435 seats can be divided. Every ten years, the distribution of seats is recalculated after a census has taken place.

At the moment, the Democrats have a small majority in the House of six seats. With the new division, that majority would disappear: net Republican states would be given three seats, Democratic states would lose three.

Elections next year

Whether the Democrats really lose their majority depends on the elections that will take place next November: these mid-terms do not elect a new president, but a new House of Representatives.

Unlike in the presidential elections, there is no winner takes all system in the House of Representatives, where the whole state is won by one party. In each State, one delegate is elected for each constituency. This means that a state with a majority of Republicans can partly have Democratic representatives, and vice versa.

The census showed that the US population has grown by 7.4 percent to 331 million inhabitants. Thats the smallest ten-year increase since 1930, and growth was highest in Utah, which got 18 percent more inhabitants. Only in West Virginia, the population fell by 3.2 percent.