After months of delays, the Census Bureau released congressional apportionment data on April 26. The decennial release of apportionment data is a sign of America’s political times: It reveals how many seats in the House of Representatives—and, accordingly, how many presidential electors—each state will have for the coming decade. This year’s data continued the trend of shifting seats out of traditionally Democratic states and to more traditionally Republican states in the South and West. In particular, seven states—California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—each lost one seat. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one seat, while Texas gained two seats. If this apportionment had been in place for the 2020 election, it would have resulted in a net decrease of three electoral votes for Joe Biden.
The release of the Census Bureau’s apportionment data is significant for yet another reason: it marks a major milestone toward the decennial redistricting cycle for state legislatures and redistricting commissions across the country. But while apportionment data tells states how many congressional districts they have, it does not reveal where those districts (and state legislative districts) must be drawn to comport with the Constitution’s one-person, one-vote requirement. That comes later when the Census Bureau releases redistricting data with population figures, which it has promised to do by Sept. 30.