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And the Census Says, Sorry California, You Lose a Congressional Seat



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SACRAMENTO — California is losing a U.S. House seat for the first time, dropping its delegation from 53 to 52 members.

That’s according to Census Bureau population data released Monday that determines how the nation’s 435 House seats are allocated.

Adding seats in Congress: Texas, with two, and Colorado, Florida, Montana, and Oregon, with one each.

In addition to California, the following states are losing one seat: Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

California Still the Most Populous State

California still is the nation’s most populous by far and still will have more House seats than any other state. But the subtraction of a seat in California comes as rival states like Texas and Florida add population and gain seats.

Texas politicians have long sought to woo California residents and businesses. During the pandemic, companies like Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced plans to relocate headquarters from California to Texas.

The number of seats in Congress is fixed at 435 and the Census Bureau uses a population-based formula to decide how many seats each state gets. That means if one state loses, another one gains.

State Faces Potential Dip in Federal Funding

The loss of a House seat also means a possible dip in federal funding for Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for low-income people, as well as less money for highways, schools, and a wide array of social services that are based on population.

Now that the number of congressional seats is known, states can embark on the decennial process of redrawing congressional maps, known as redistricting. That process won’t start until late summer or fall because of a delay in releasing neighborhood-level population data.

California is among several states that use a commission to draw state legislative and congressional districts. Voters in 2008 created an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that took the power to draw the lines away from the state Legislature. The group has already begun a months-long process of seeking community feedback and taking other input.