The U.S. Census Bureau released its official 2020 census results on Monday. The most important preliminary data highlights which states gained or lost seats in the House of Representatives; the increase in the U.S. population; the percentage of population change and which states have the largest and smallest populations, as well as their rate of growth.
This was the 24th U.S. census, taken once a decade since 1790, as dictated by the Constitution. This would be the ninth count where the country includes all people, as it was after 1940 that Native American Indians were included.
Normally, the Census Bureau results are released before the end of the decade, that is, they should have been released in December 2020. But on this occasion, due to the complications of the pandemic, natural disasters in some states and certain bureaucratic problems with the Trump administration, the data took about 4 months longer than usual to be released to the public.
U.S. Population in the 2020 Census
The first thing the summary of the preliminary 2020 census data highlights is that the U.S. population for April 1, 2020 is 331,449,281.
The rate in the percentage change in population between 2010-2020 (7.4%) was down from the 2000-2010 decade (9.7%).
The 2020 census percentage change also varied by region. In the South the percentage stood at 10.2 %, the West at 9.2 %, the Northeast at 4.1 %, and the Midwest region came in at 3.1 %.
The state with the largest population, even though it suffered the flight of thousands of inhabitants, is California, with 39,538,223. On the other hand, the state with the smallest population is Wyoming, with 576,851 inhabitants.
The 10 states with the largest population according to the 2020 Census are the following:
- California: 39,576,757
- Texas: 29,183,290
- Florida: 21,570,527
- New York: 20,215,751
- Pensilvania: 13,011,844
- Ohio: 11,808,848
- Georgia: 10,725,274
- Carolina del Norte: 10,453,948
- Michigan: 10,084,442
In contrast, the least populous states, with populations ranging from 0.5 to 1.4 million are: Wyoming, Vermon, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire.
Between 2010-2020, the states with the largest and smallest population gains were Utah (18.4%) and West Virginia (-3.2%).
Which states lost and gained seats in the House of Representatives?
The six winners in the 2020 census were Texas with 2 seats and Florida, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon with one each. Arizona was one of the states that expected a seat gain, to reach 10 district representatives, but it did not gain a single one and this is the first time this has happened since 1950.
Seven states, however, will lose seats in the Lower House: California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Each will lose one seat.
New York came very close to not losing a single seat: “if New York had 89 more people, it would have received one more seat,” said Kristin Koslap, senior technical expert on congressional apportionment in the 2020 census at the Census Bureau’s Population Division.
The other 37 states in the union will not lose their number of seats. California remains the state with the most representatives (52), followed by Texas (38), Florida is third alone with 28 and New York came in fourth with (26).
One of the reasons why California and New York have lost one seat each is due to the migration of their residents to states such as Texas and Florida.
Likewise, many citizens, business owners, companies and multimillionaires decided to leave these states in search of greater labor flexibility and a better quality of life.
According to the 2020 Census, the average per representative grew considerably. In 2010, each congressman represented, on average, about 710,767 people. Now, in 2020, each representative represents 761,169 citizens.
The case of Puerto Rico
One of the most staggering figures thrown out in these preliminary results is that Puerto Rico decreased its population by 11.8% to 3.3 million.
“Puerto Rico has suffered a string of disasters and setbacks that have led to an exodus of island residents to the U.S. mainland.” NBC noted. “Those include drought, near economic collapse because of crushing debt, and thrashings from hurricanes, the worst of which was Hurricane Maria in September 2017.”
On the other hand, according to NPR more detailed information on race, ethnicity, age, sex and county, city and town numbers “will be released with the second set of 2020 census results. This more detailed demographic information is needed for the redrawing of voting districts. It’s also used to guide the distribution of an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal money for Medicare, Medicaid, education and other public services for local communities.”