The Texas population grew by more than 16% in the last ten years and the state now has 29.18 million residents, according to the newly released data. It is the only state in the nation adding two seats—the others adding one seat each are Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Montana, and North Carolina.
However, the population increase in Texas in the last decade fell below the U.S. Census Bureau projections.
“For Texas and Florida, the difference between the 2020 Census count and the estimates were within about 1%, so they were still close, but they were slightly lower than the population estimates,” said Karen Battle, chief of the population division for the U.S. Census Bureau during an April 26 press conference.
That slight difference between the actual counts and the projections put Texas just under the population needed for a third additional U.S. House seat that would have given the state 39 total.
Based on the statistical method used to apportion seats by state, which is dictated by Congress, the 435th and final U.S. House seat went to Minnesota, with New York coming just 89 residents short of the threshold to retain a seat it ultimately lost.
After New York, Ohio was next-closest on the list, followed by Texas, Florida, Arizona and California.
The seven states losing one U.S. House seat each are California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. According to the Census Bureau, 84 seats have shifted from the northeast and the midwest to the south and west since 1940.
Normally, data from the 2020 Census would have already been delivered to states, and the Texas Legislature would be working on redrawing lines for the U.S. House of Representatives now, but COVID-19-related delays forced the Census Bureau to wait before delivering the data to states.
Data released April 26 is only at the state level for reapportioning U.S. House seats and does not provide the level of detail states will need to redraw political boundaries.
Ron Jarmin, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau, said states will have what they need to begin the redistricting process by Aug. 16, and the final data sets will be delivered by Sept. 30. Additional information that will be available later in the year includes breakdowns by county, race, ethnicity and more.
The Texas Legislature will have to call a special session for its redistricting process this fall after the data is delivered, as the 87th Legislative Session is set to end May 31. The new boundaries will take effect for the 2022 elections. The filing deadline is Dec. 13, 2021 for candidates running in the primary elections held March 3, 2022.