The U.S. House of Representatives was constitutionally locked at 435 members with the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, meaning congressional seats cannot be created or destroyed — just transferred from one state to another.
Texas was one of six states to gain seats while seven lost one. Its total population increased nearly 4 million, topping out at 29,145,505.
Another part of congressional representation that changed was the constituents per district, increasing from 698,488 to 766,987.
With the preliminary totals now available, the decennial process for redrawing Texas’ congressional and state legislative districts will begin to speed up.
The number of Texas’ state legislative districts, unlike its federal counterpart, is locked at 31 and 150 for the Senate and House, respectively. So, while the constituency per district will increase, the number of elected representatives will not.
The Texas Demographic Center estimated earlier this year that the state Senate districts would increase in size to just shy of 1 million residents per district — substantially larger than the congressionals.
That projection overshot the result by about 50,000 residents. The population per state House district will be just over 194,000.
Like most redistricting efforts, this year’s is likely to be drawn out and bogged down with legal challenges. Due to coronavirus, the Census Bureau’s project was delayed and the delivery of its data to the states may not come until September 30. That means Texas will be behind the eightball to draw its legislative districts before the 2022 primaries.
With a month left in the 87th regular session, it is all but certain that the state legislature will convene a special session just to tackle the issue — meaning that after a year of inaction, a dash to the finish is expected.
Texas’ population is clearly growing at a significant rate — and with it, the state’s political influence at the national level.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.