17 States That Will Gain or Lose Electoral-College Votes After the 2020 Census

Every 10 years, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are re-assigned based on the results of the U.S. Census. And that has huge implications not just for the Electoral College, but local funding, too.

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Every 10 years, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are reassigned based on the results of the U.S. Census. This also helps determine a state’s number of votes in the Electoral College (House seats plus Senate seats, plus three additional for the District of Columbia for a sum of 538) and thus its power to decide presidential elections.

Where people go, so goes political power. According to Election Data Services, at least 17 states will likely gain or lose seats—and electoral college votes—after the 2020 Census, based on the latest demographic trends. States in the South and West will see the biggest gains; Texas could pick up as many as three seats, the most of any state. The Midwest and Northeast will not fare as well: Eight of the 10 states set to lose House seats are from these two regions.

Both parties could profit from these developments. Take Florida, whose rapid growth is fueled by both increasing numbers of younger Latinos, who tend to vote Democratic, and older retirees, who tend to vote Republican. As a result, the Sunshine State will probably remain the archetypal swing state for years to come.

One thing to keep in mind: Since the number of House seats is fixed, even states whose populations have grown over the past decade, such as California, are at risk of losing representation in Congress to those that have grown even faster.

Another: These are just preliminary estimates. The full picture will only be clear with the results of the 2020 Census, which has been complicated by COVID-19. While the Census Bureau halted field operations on Oct. 15 after getting the OK from the Supreme Court, many state and local officials are prepared to challenge the results, alleging that the agency undercounted the population in certain areas.

Will your state's political influence surge or dwindle in the coming decade? Take a look.

Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.