The U.S. Census Bureau released its first wave of numbers from the pandemic-delayed 2020 census Monday, and they contained better news for Indiana than for some of its Midwestern neighbors.
As in the last congressional reapportionment after the 2010 census, the Hoosier State will not lose a seat in its congressional delegation, nor a vote in the Electoral College, as a result of population change during the past decade. But three of its next-door neighbors — Illinois, Michigan and Ohio — will lose a seat, along with New York, California, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
The change results from those states having lost population or, as in the case of California, having gained population at a lesser rate than others.
Among states gaining seats are Texas with two seats, and with one seat each, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Montana and Oregon.
Overall, a total of seven seats will shift among 13 states.
A Franklin College political science professor said that at least in proportion to two of the nation’s most populous states — California and New York — Indiana might have gained ground just by holding its own.
“While New York and California are still much larger in terms of their seats in Congress, and therefore their Electoral College votes, relatively speaking, it’s not as bad as it was for Hoosiers,” said Dr. Randal Smith, chair of the department of political science at Franklin.
Monday’s data continues a trend of population shifting from northeastern and Midwestern states to those in the South and West.
The census bureau reported a national population of 331,449,281, an increase of 7.4% over the past decade — lower than 9.7% during the decade before that, and the lowest growth in any decade since the 1930s. Regionally, the South saw the greatest growth at 10.2%, and the Midwest the lowest at 3.1%.
At 4.7% — from 6,483,802 in 2010 to 6,785,528 in 2020 — Indiana’s population growth outpaced the region but lagged the nation as a whole.
Although Indiana’s congressional delegation held its own, the state’s representation in Congress has been shrinking over the past century. After the 1870 census, Indiana had 13 seats; the delegation was reduced to 12 after the 1930 census, 11 after the 1940 census, 10 after the 1980 census, and to its present level of nine seats after the 2000 census.
Additional census data, expected in September, will be needed for the Indiana General Assembly to redraw the congressional district lines, as well as state legislative districts, to reflect any population shift among the districts. — The Indiana Citizen.
Taylor Dixon contributed reporting. She is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.