SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is losing a U.S. House seat for the first time, dropping its delegation from 53 to 52 members.
That’s according to Census Bureau population data released Monday that determines how the nation’s 435 House seats are allocated.
California has seen record slow population growth in the last decade and its population has been stalled just short of 40 million people.
California still is the nation’s most populous by far and still will have more House seats than any other state. But the subtraction of a seat in California comes as rival states like Texas and Florida add population and gain seats.
These Census results were not unexpected. Both NY and CA were concerned about losing two seats each; that did not happen. https://t.co/tLNpCQRzZk— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 26, 2021
Texas politicians have long sought to woo California residents and businesses. During the pandemic, companies like Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced plans to relocate headquarters to from California to Texas.
The number of seats in Congress is fixed at 435 and the Census Bureau uses a population-based formula to decide how many seats each state gets. That means if one state loses, another one gains.
The loss of a House seat also means a possible dip in federal funding for Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for low-income people, as well as less money for highways, schools and a wide array of social services that are based on population.
Now that the number of congressional seats is known, states can embark on the decennial process of redrawing congressional maps, known as redistricting. That process won’t start until late summer or fall because of a delay in releasing neighborhood-level population data.
California is among several states that use a commission to draw state legislative and congressional districts. Voters in 2008 created an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that took the power to draw the lines away from the state Legislature. The group has already begun a months-long process of seeking community feedback and taking other input.
“It is not surprising that California would lose a seat in Congress for the first time in state history because years of failed Democrat policies have taken our state backward...” CAGOP Chairwoman @millanpatterson pic.twitter.com/a9fu5swlTp— CAGOP (@CAGOP) April 26, 2021