House of Representatives Apportionment

House of Representatives Apportionment

Due to the fact that this is an Election year, all of the Representatives of the House of Representatives are up for re-election. The simple fact that not many people know how or why they have the amount of Representatives they have, has prompted this post. There are 435 Representatives currently serving and that number hasn’t changed since 1929. First, let’s look at the History.

 

The Constitution of the United States has this to say on apportionment:

Article 1, Section 2: The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;

 

In 1911, the 62rd Congress passed a law called the Apportionment Act of 1911. This law stated that the grand total of Representatives serving will be 433 and that those 433 would be apportioned to the States according to the total population of the State and if Arizona and New Mexico joined the Union they would each get 1 Representative. According to census data for 1900, the total population of the United States was 76,303,387. This law didn’t take effect until 1913 with the 63rd Congress.

 

Then in 1929, the Reapportionment Act of 1929 capped the total Representatives at the present 435, but allowed for shifts in Representatives due to population shifts.

 

Now let’s look at how these apportionments have affected the House of Representatives through every census year.

 

Year Population Total Representatives Rep. per population size
1790          3,929,214 105                                    37,421
1800          5,308,483 142                                    37,383
1810          7,239,881 182                                    39,779
1820          9,633,822 213                                    45,229
1830        12,866,020 240                                    53,608
1840        17,069,458 223                                    76,544
1850        23,191,876 234                                    99,110
1860        31,443,321 241                                  130,470
1870        38,558,371 292                                  132,049
1880        50,155,783 325                                  154,325
1890        62,979,766 356                                  176,909
1900        76,303,387 386                                  197,677
1910        91,972,266 435                                  211,430
1920      105,710,620 435                                  243,012
1930      122,775,046 435                                  282,241
1940      131,669,275 435                                  302,687
1950      151,325,798 435                                  347,875
1960      179,323,175 435                                  412,237
1970      203,302,031 435                                  467,460
1980      226,542,199 435                                  520,786
1990      248,718,301 435                                  571,766
2000      281,421,906 435                                  646,946
2010      308,745,538 435                                  709,759

 

Now let’s look at a State by State breakdown of the 2010 census and a 2013 estimate:

 

State Seats in U.S. House, 2013-2023 Census population, April 1, 2010 2010 Census pop. Per House Seat Population estimate for Jul 1, 2013 2013 Estimated pop. Per House Seat
 California 53 37,253,956 702,905 38,332,521 723,255
 Texas 36 25,145,561 698,487 26,448,193 734,672
 New York 27 19,378,102 717,707 19,651,127 727,819
 Florida 27 18,801,310 696,345 19,552,860 724,180
 Illinois 18 12,830,632 712,813 12,882,135 715,674
 Pennsylvania 18 12,702,379 705,688 12,773,801 709,656
 Ohio 16 11,536,504 721,032 11,570,808 723,176
 Georgia 14 9,687,653 691,975 9,992,167 713,726
 Michigan 14 9,883,640 705,974 9,895,622 706,830
 North Carolina 13 9,535,483 733,498 9,848,060 757,543
 New Jersey 12 8,791,894 732,658 8,899,339 741,611
 Virginia 11 8,001,024 727,366 8,260,405 750,946
 Washington 10 6,724,540 672,454 6,971,406 697,141
 Massachusetts 9 6,547,629 727,514 6,692,824 743,647
 Arizona 9 6,392,017 710,224 6,626,624 736,292
 Indiana 9 6,483,802 720,422 6,570,902 730,100
 Tennessee 9 6,346,105 705,123 6,495,978 721,775
 Missouri 8 5,988,927 748,615 6,044,171 755,521
 Maryland 8 5,773,552 721,694 5,928,814 741,102
 Wisconsin 8 5,686,986 710,873 5,742,713 717,839
 Minnesota 8 5,303,925 662,991 5,420,380 677,548
 Colorado 7 5,029,196 720,704 5,268,367 752,624
 Alabama 7 4,779,736 682,819 4,833,722 690,531
 South Carolina 7 4,625,364 660,766 4,774,839 682,120
 Louisiana 6 4,533,372 755,562 4,625,470 770,912
 Kentucky 6 4,339,367 723,228 4,395,295 732,549
 Oregon 5 3,831,074 766,215 3,930,065 786,013
 Oklahoma 5 3,751,351 750,270 3,850,568 770,114
 Connecticut 5 3,574,097 714,819 3,596,080 719,016
 Iowa 4 3,046,355 761,589 3,090,416 772,604
 Mississippi 4 2,967,297 741,824 2,991,207 747,802
 Arkansas 4 2,915,918 728,980 2,959,373 739,843
 Utah 4 2,763,885 690,221 2,900,872 725,218
 Kansas 4 2,853,118 713,280 2,893,957 723,489
 Nevada 4 2,700,551 675,110 2,790,136 697,534
 New Mexico 3 2,059,179 686,393 2,085,287 695,096
 Nebraska 3 1,826,341 608,780 1,868,516 622,839
 West Virginia 3 1,852,994 617,665 1,854,304 618,101
 Idaho 2 1,567,582 783,791 1,612,136 806,068
 Hawaii 2 1,360,301 680,151 1,404,054 702,027
 Maine 2 1,328,361 664,181 1,328,302 664,151
 New Hampshire 2 1,316,470 658,235 1,323,459 661,730
 Rhode Island 2 1,052,567 526,284 1,051,511 525,756
 Montana 1 989,415 989,415 1,015,165 1,015,165
 Delaware 1 897,934 897,934 925,749 925,749
 South Dakota 1 814,180 814,180 844,877 844,877
 Alaska 1 710,231 710,231 735,132 735,132
 North Dakota 1 672,591 672,591 723,393 723,393
 Vermont 1 625,741 625,741 626,630 626,630
 Wyoming 1 563,626 563,626 582,658 582,658
 District of Columbia 0 601,723 0 646,449 0
The Fifty States 435 308,143,815 708,376 315,482,390 725,249
50 states + D.C. 435 308,745,538 316,128,839

 

 

 

Here are the relevant codes from the United States Code:

 

2 USC §2a. Reapportionment of Representatives; time and manner; existing decennial census figures as basis; statement by President; duty of clerk

(a) On the first day, or within one week thereafter, of the first regular session of the Eighty-second Congress and of each fifth Congress thereafter, the President shall transmit to the Congress a statement showing the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed, as ascertained under the seventeenth and each subsequent decennial census of the population, and the number of Representatives to which each State would be entitled under an apportionment of the then existing number of Representatives by the method known as the method of equal proportions, no State to receive less than one Member.

 

(b) Each State shall be entitled, in the Eighty-third Congress and in each Congress thereafter until the taking effect of a reapportionment under this section or subsequent statute, to the number of Representatives shown in the statement required by subsection (a) of this section, no State to receive less than one Member. It shall be the duty of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, within fifteen calendar days after the receipt of such statement, to send to the executive of each State a certificate of the number of Representatives to which such State is entitled under this section. In case of a vacancy in the office of Clerk, or of his absence or inability to discharge this duty, then such duty shall devolve upon the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives.

 

(c) Until a State is redistricted in the manner provided by the law thereof after any apportionment, the Representatives to which such State is entitled under such apportionment shall be elected in the following manner: (1) If there is no change in the number of Representatives, they shall be elected from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State, and if any of them are elected from the State at large they shall continue to be so elected; (2) if there is an increase in the number of Representatives, such additional Representative or Representatives shall be elected from the State at large and the other Representatives from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State; (3) if there is a decrease in the number of Representatives but the number of districts in such State is equal to such decreased number of Representatives, they shall be elected from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State; (4) if there is a decrease in the number of Representatives but the number of districts in such State is less than such number of Representatives, the number of Representatives by which such number of districts is exceeded shall be elected from the State at large and the other Representatives from the districts then prescribed by the law of such State; or (5) if there is a decrease in the number of Representatives and the number of districts in such State exceeds such decreased number of Representatives, they shall be elected from the State at large.

 

2 USC §2b. Number of Representatives from each State in 78th and subsequent Congresses

Each State shall be entitled, in the Seventy-eighth and in each Congress thereafter until the taking effect of a reapportionment under a subsequent statute or section 2a of this title, to the number of Representatives shown in the statement transmitted to the Congress on January 8, 1941, based upon the method known as the method of equal proportions, no State to receive less than one Member.

 

2 USC §2c. Number of Congressional Districts; number of Representatives from each District

In each State entitled in the Ninety-first Congress or in any subsequent Congress thereafter to more than one Representative under an apportionment made pursuant to the provisions of section 2a(a) of this title, there shall be established by law a number of districts equal to the number of Representatives to which such State is so entitled, and Representatives shall be elected only from districts so established, no district to elect more than one Representative (except that a State which is entitled to more than one Representative and which has in all previous elections elected its Representatives at Large may elect its Representatives at Large to the Ninety-first Congress).