California set to lose congressional seat for first time in history following census reapportionment

Following the completion of the U.S. census every 10 years, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are reapportioned among the states based on population changes.

For the first time in its history, the state of California is set to lose a congressional district ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, which increasingly appear to be shaping up for a Republican takeover of the current Democratic-controlled House, Breitbart reported.

That is bad news for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who in addition to seeing her state’s delegation shrink by one could also be faced with losing her majority and speaker’s gavel to the GOP, a change that would likely signal the end of her political career.

Reapportionment and redistricting

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in addition to California losing a congressional district, so too will the states of Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, The Hill reported. Those lost seats in the 435-member House will shift to the states of Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon, each of which will gain one new district, as well as Texas, which is set to gain two additional seats in Congress.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the reapportionment process used to distribute the 435 seats in the House among the 50 states has been in place since 1941 and is known as the Method of Equal Proportions.

In essence, each state begins with one seat in the House, and then a series of calculations are made to equally and proportionally assign the remaining 385 seats among all of the states, with the goal being that each member of the House represents an approximately equal number of citizens as every other member.

The Hill noted that the census data released thus far is preliminary and all 50 states will likely need to wait until September for more detailed information regarding population changes within states to begin the decennial redistricting process.

The procedure to redraw congressional district maps are handled slightly differently in various states, with some allowing the majority party to draw partisan maps favorable to itself while other states, such as California, entrust that redistricting task to independent commissions.

People fleeing California

California was reduced from 53 to 52 congressional districts, and subsequently lost one vote in the Electoral College, due to slower than average population growth over the past 10 years in comparison to other states, The Sacramento Bee reported.

That slow growth is likely due to a declining fertility rate — about half the national rate — as well as a decrease in the rate of foreign migration into the state and increase in the rate of domestic migration out of the state.

It is estimated that roughly 1.5 million Californians fled the state for greener pastures — typically in GOP-led states — with nearly half a million of those exits coming in just the past few years.

The Bee also noted that, due to redistricting being handled by an independent commission, and despite Democrats dominating the state, it will most likely be a Democratic-held district in the Los Angeles area that gets axed when the map is redrawn, though the additional details from the Census Bureau will need to be released before that can be known for sure.

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