Sean Trende reviews what the changing populations of the various states could mean for the 2020 reapportionment:

The numbers are now out, and the shifts again confirm what we already mostly knew about population trends: The Northeast and Midwest grew very slowly, the West grew at a modest pace, and the South grew about 3.5 times as fast as the Northeast and Midwest combined. The pace of immigration picked up slightly, but the overall pattern remains the same: relatively slow population growth, accompanying slow economic growth.

The balance of his analysis suggests that California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Oregon will each pick up one seat, Texas will pick up more (either two or three) while Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia are each likely to lose one.

My own view of the changes in population tends to make me unpopular. I think that states that receive net federal subsidies tend to grow while states that produce net federal revenues tend to shrink. In other words, I don’t think the changing populations of the states has much to do with the policies internal to the states themselves. There’s a simple way to test this: stop subsidizing the states that are growing. Alas, that will prove politically impossible since the growing states have ever greater political power.

I also suspect that the population story of the next decade will be our internal migrations. That’s very unlike the past thirty years during which immigrations from abroad were more significant. The persistence theory (which Mr. Trende’s analysis presupposes) won’t hold with respect to immigration from Latin America and the Caribbean for demographic reasons as well as economic ones.

2 comments… add one
  • Roy Lofquist

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The exact same argument also applies to right to work laws, low tax rates, lower crime rates and ubiquitous air conditioning.

  • jan


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