New York State’s Congressional Delegation May Lose Two Members

Jeffrey Wice, Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow.

According to a new report released on December 22, 2020 by Election Data Services, Inc. (EDS), New York State could lose up to two congressional districts after the official state population totals are announced in January.

The Census Bureau released 2020 state population estimates today based on the American Community Survey. EDS ran the statutory apportionment formula against the data and found that New York is on the “bubble” to lose either one or two congressional districts. Alabama would get the second seat if it should be lost by New York.

The population estimates released today reflect numbers as of April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020. While April 1 is the date used as the “official” census date, delays caused by the COVID pandemic extended the census counting period and data estimates for July 1 were also provided.

The actual reapportionment will be based on the results of the 2020 decennial census that was taken from March through October, 2020.

New York State’s estimated 2020 population  (as of July , 2020) is 19,336,776 people.

The state’s estimated 2019 population was 19,463,131.

The 2020 estimate represents an estimated loss of 126,355 people in the past year.

In 2010, New York’s official decennial census population count was 19,378,102 persons.
The difference between the actual 2010 population and the 2020 estimate is 41,326 persons.

While the state’s estimated population increased from 2010 to 2016, it has been dropping since 2017. The COVID pandemic may have also played a role in the state’s  demographic change due to the number people who may have left the state for health, family or economic reasons since March, 2020.

EDS estimates that New York would lose one congressional district if the congressional reapportionment is based on the April 1, 2020 estimated population. If the congressional reapportionment is based on July 1, 2020 estimates, New York would lose two districts. The second district would be lost to Alabama because New York came up short by 24,428 people.

It must be kept in mind that these numbers are estimates and that the final official census data might differ.

The EDS analysis also shows that 10 congressional districts are likely to shift between 17 state delegations using the estimates released today.

Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon are each projected to each gain a single seat, while Florida would gain two districts and Texas would gain three.

States projected to lose one each include Alabama (dependent upon data used), California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York (possibly two seats), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

The Census Bureau is expected to release final state population counts based on the  decennial census sometime in January, 2021. While President Trump has announced his intention to subtract undocumented immigrants from the state population totals used for reapportionment, it remains far from certain whether that data will become available before he leaves office. Further, any attempt Trump makes to release incomplete or suspect state population totals will be challenged in court. In the end,  President-elect Joe Biden may end up releasing state population totals.  There is also the possibility that the President-elect and Congress may extend the deadline for the Census Bureau to report state population totals until a later date in the event the Census Bureau determines it needs more time to complete its work.

By: Jeffrey M. Wice (Jeffrey Wice is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow at the New York Census and Redistricting Institute through the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School. For Professor Wice’s previous discussion of the redistricting process featured in CityLaw, click here.)


One thought on “New York State’s Congressional Delegation May Lose Two Members

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.