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Is Pennsylvania On Pace to Lose Another Congressional Seat in 2030?

The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual population estimates on Tuesday, showing that Pennsylvania continues to shrink with the Keystone State losing 10,400 people.

The ramifications of that loss may not seem like much at the end of 2023, but fast-forwarding to 2030 and the Commonwealth may be contracting from 17 to 16 congressional seats.

The Bureau estimates that Pennsylvania now has 12.9 million people, but one of eight states that lost population from July 2022 to July 2023, including California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Oregon and West Virginia.

Other than the Empire State, Pennsylvania’s neighbors continue to grow with New Jersey (30,000), Ohio (26,000), Maryland (16,000) and Delaware (12,000) all increasing by five figures.

The silver lining in the news – the Commonwealth’s decline in population is slowing, as it lost 42,000 in 2022.

“U.S. migration returning to pre-pandemic levels and a drop in deaths are driving the nation’s growth,” Kristie Wilder, a demographer at the agency, said in a release accompanying the data.

But the accompanying growth in the South which added 1.4 million people in the last year means a probable change in congressional representation, favoring the 16 states and D.C. that stretch from Delaware to Texas.

While trends could change, the new population estimates point toward the continued shift of congressional representation away from the West Coast and Northeast to the South and West.

Estimates by Fair Lines America Foundation — an arm of the Republican Party’s redistricting apparatus — found that Texas and Florida would be the big winners in the post-2030 apportionment, should these growth trends continue for the rest of the decade. Those two states would pick up four and three seats, respectively.

Who would lose seats? Some of the biggest electoral-vote states in the Union. California is on pace to lose four seats, while New York (-3) and Illinois (-2) would also lose multiple seats.

The Keystone State would most likely lose one of its 17 current seats in reapportionment. It would be the third consecutive time that Pennsylvania would surrender one of its congressional seats since the 2000 federal Census.

  • 2000: 19
  • 2010: 18
  • 2020: 17
  • 2030(?): 16

 

The boundaries of Congressional seats in Pennsylvania are redrawn after every Federal decennial census by legislative action – in other words, a bill which proceeds through both chambers of the General Assembly and is signed into law by the Governor.

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