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GOP-leaning states to gain seats in Congress

All four states that would gain House seats in 2010 are in the South or West, while all four that would lose are in the East or Midwest, according to an analysis by American City Business Journals.
/ Source: American City Business Journals

Arizona, Florida, Texas and Utah would each gain one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives if districts were reapportioned today, according to an analysis by American City Business Journals.

Iowa, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, on the other hand, would each lose a seat.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new state-by-state population estimates for 2004 Wednesday. ACBJ used those figures to hypothetically reapportion House seats today, six years in advance of the next scheduled reapportionment in 2010.

The four states that would pick up House seats have experienced substantial population growth since 2000, when the last federal census was conducted. Arizona’s population has increased by 12 percent since 2000, Florida’s has grown by 8.9 percent, Texas’ by 7.9 percent and Utah’s by 7.0 percent, based on the latest Census Bureau estimates.

The four states that would lose House districts are growing at a snail’s pace by comparison. New York has posted the largest population increase in the group since 2000, just 1.3 percent.

All 435 House seats are redistributed among the 50 states after each federal census, reflecting the latest state-by-state population counts.

The hypothetical reapportionment would result in a continuing flow of congressional power to the Sun Belt. All four states that would gain House seats are in the South or West, while all four that would lose are in the East or Midwest.

The balance of power in the Electoral College would tip slightly, as well, since each state’s number of electoral votes is determined by the sum of its House seats and its two Senate seats.

President Bush last month won all four states that would pick up electoral votes under ACBJ’s scenario. He and Democrat John Kerry split the four states that would slip in the Electoral College: Bush won Iowa and Ohio, while Kerry won New York and Pennsylvania.

Bush’s victory in a reapportioned Electoral College would be 288-250, as opposed to his actual margin of 286-252 over Kerry.

Texas would climb to 33 seats in the House of Representatives under the hypothetical reapportionment. Florida would have 26 seats, Arizona nine and Utah four.

The new totals for the losing states would be 28 seats for New York, 18 for Pennsylvania, 17 for Ohio and four for Iowa.

Representation levels for the other 42 states would be unchanged.

California would remain the dominant force in the House under ACBJ’s scenario, retaining 53 seats. The only other states with more than 20 seats as of today would be Texas with 33, New York with 28 and Florida with 26.

The ACBJ analysis also projected current population trends forward to 2010, seeking to identify states that might gain or lose congressional seats between now and then.

Five states would add House districts during the coming six years, provided that the population-growth rates for all states remained constant. Texas would tack on two additional seats, reaching a total of 35 after the 2010 census. California, Florida, Georgia and Nevada would add one seat each.

New York and Ohio would each lose another House seat by 2010 if current population trends continued, dropping to totals of 27 and 16 seats, respectively.

Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Missouri would also be in line to lose a single seat apiece after the next census.