N.Y. will lose congressional seat

The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on March 17. Samuel Corum/Bloomberg/TNS

WASHINGTON — New York state will lose one seat in the state’s congressional delegation, bringing the total to 26, continuing the state’s population and federal decline since the 1940s.

The state will lose one of its 27 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is one of seven states to lose representation in Congress with the 2020 Census data under the U.S. Code formula applied to apportionment data.

The U.S. Census, conducted and finalized by the U.S. Census Bureau every 10 years, determines how many representatives each state has in the nation’s 435-seat House of Representatives.

If New York had counted 89 more residents, it would not have lost a seat. The last of the 435 seats went to Minnesota.

“We haven’t seen the data where the loss has occurred,” Jeff M. Wice, adjunct professor and senior fellow at New York Law School, said of where state population has declined. “It’s too early to know anything yet.”

Block-by-block census data will be released in August, with user-friendly, analyzed data released to help with states’ redistricting of elective district lines by Sept. 30.

New York’s population increased to 20,201,249 from 19,378,102 people in 2010.

New York has about 9,308,000 addresses, according to the most recent census data, compared to 8,615,000 in 2010.

California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia also each lost congressional seats.

The state had lost at least two congressional seats every census, or each decade, since the 1940s.

The state lost six congressional district seats in the 1830s, but swelled to a peak of 45 representatives by the end of the century.

The state lost five districts in 1980, three in 1990 and two districts each in 2000 and 2010.

“So this is New York’s slowest loss in state history,” Wice said. “The losses show a slowing of the population decline. It shows the New York census count might have been lower than anticipated because of challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The state’s 10-member Independent Redistricting Commission will redraw lines to merge two congressional districts. Where the state lost population could be a factor, but will not determine which district will be absorbed.

The commissioners — appointed by the four legislative leaders, including two not enrolled with the Republican or Democratic parties — will use the granular data later this year to draw maps and make the decision.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not appoint members and has no role in the commission’s operation.

Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay, R-Pulaski, attributed the state’s congressional loss to Democratic control and policies.

“Losing a Congressional seat diminishes our level of representation in the halls of Congress and is the result of ongoing population loss driven by misguided policies and priorities,” Barclay said in a statement Monday. “As 1.5 million New Yorkers fled to greener pastures in the past decade, Democrats have continued to maintain a head-in-the-sand mentality to the issues driving people away. It costs too much to live here. Our taxes are among the nation’s highest. Red tape and costly regulations are stifling small businesses and preventing job growth.

“Albany’s One-Party-Rule is content to watch the exodus from New York take place as they tax and spend at record levels,” he added. “With this unsustainable approach, today’s unfortunate news from the census will continue to be a recurring theme.”

State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy also said the state’s loss of a congressional seat proves the state needs the GOP to lead.

“Today’s news that New York will lose another congressional seat is a sad but unsurprising commentary on Andrew Cuomo’s failed leadership,” Langworthy said in a statement. “We have no future as a state when our federal representation continues to shrink, our jobs continue to be destroyed and our residents continue to flee to other states.

“We are a state that is failing and in desperate need of a life-saving treatment — a Republican governor who will change course and reverse New York’s decline,” he added.

But state Democrats pushed back, reminding New Yorkers the state saw a population increase, especially compared to the decline in years’ past, and the state Senate was under Republican control for decades.

“There wasn’t a population decline — the total population growth in New York since 2010 has been 4.2 percent,” said Jonathan Heppner, spokesman for the Senate Majority Conference. “We are actually growing at a faster rate than since FDR was president. The state had lost between two and five members after each of the censuses from 1950 through 2010 throughout which the state Senate Republicans were in control all but two terms.”

The U.S. resident population is 331,449,281, according to the 2020, or nation’s 24th, Census, and represents the total number of people living in the 50 U.S. states and District of Columbia. The national population increased 22,703,743 or 7.4% from 308,745,538 in 2010.

Each member of the House will represent an average of 761,169 people based on 2020 Census data.

“Despite many challenges, our nation completed a census for the 24th time,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “This act is fundamental to our democracy and a declaration of our growth and resilience. I also want to thank the team at the U.S. Census Bureau, who overcame unprecedented challenges to collect and produce high-quality data that will inform decision-making for years to come.”

California was the most populous state with 39,538,223 people. The least populous is Wyoming at 576,851 residents.

Texas will gain two seats after gaining the most residents of any other state, or 3,999,944 more people to a population of 29.1 million, according to census data.

The Census Bureau’s April 1, 2020, population estimate was within 1% of the count, Raimondo said.

Puerto Rico’s residents declined 11.8% to 3,285,874 people.

Reapportionment counts were delivered to President Joe Biden on Monday. The president will transmit the counts to the 117th Congress to be reapportioned for the 118th Congress to convene in January 2023.

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