Census costs Michigan a U.S. House seat -- who'll be left standing?

April 27, 2021, 7:03 AM

Now comes a political version of musical chairs as Michigan's 14 U.S. House seats shrink to 13.

Results of the 2020 national Census show slow population growth, compared to six Western and Southern states. As a result, Michigan is among seven states losing a seat in Congress, starting in January 2023.

Population here increased 2 percent since 2010 to 10,084,442, fifth-lowest growth nationally, according to data released Monday. Michigan has lost congressional seats each decade since 1980, when it had 19 House seats.

Other losers this time are New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia and California. Each also drops one Electoral College vote in presidential elections.

Michigan slips from the eighth-largest state to the 10th-largest as North Carolina and Georgia move up. (A decade ago, it was the only state with a population decline from 2000-10.)

(Graphic: U.S. Census Bureau)

In states losing or gaining seats, political maps will be redrawn for 2022 elections so that each of the 435 congressional districts has roughly 761,000 residents on average. For Michigan, the figure is 775,726 people per representative, according to The Detroit News.

In Michigan, political boundaries will be redrawn by a 13-member independent redistricting commission approved by voters in 2018.

"The congressional incumbents are going to try to have some influence on the process," an expert tells Bridge Michigan. "But ultimately it's not their decision, and it's not the decision of elected officials," adds Adrian Hemond, a Democratic strategist and head of a bipartisan advocacy firm in Lansing called Grassroots Midwest.

Confirmation of the long-expected seat loss adds intensity to a guessing game of who'll be left standing when the music stops:

Nationally, America's population grew 7.4% in the last decade to 331,449,281. Texas added the most residents, nearly 4 million, and picks up two House seats for a total of 38.

Five states gain a seat: Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon.

City- and county-level data comes in August, delayed for pandemic-related reasons. The Census Bureau temporarily suspended in-person field operations last year.

Gainers and losers as House districts change next year in 13 states. Alaska is unchanged. (Graphic: U.S. Census Bureau)

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