US Census Shifts: The Census Bureau released data showing that US population growth has slowed to the lowest rate since the Great Depression. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: US Census Shifts
On Monday, The Census Bureau released data showing that US population growth has slowed to the lowest rate since the Great Depression. Population growth is also decelerating in the EU’s largest countries — check out these recent headlines from Spain and Italy — but the phenomenon has ramifications that are unique to the US. Depending on where the population grows and slows, some states will benefit politically and others won’t. Here’s an interesting read about “Apportionment,” or the process of dividing the 435 memberships, or seats, in the House of Representatives among the 50 states. In terms of what you need to know now, people are moving South and West. Thanks to the “latest population shifts, six states — Texas, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon — will gain seats in the House. Seven — California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — will each lose one,” Lauren Fedor reports for the Financial Times. Who gains and loses political power as a result of population changes is a highly partisan issue. Here’s what both sides are saying about the topic:
On The Left
From a 30,000 foot view, Democrats admit that Republicans “won” the census but they don’t view the upcoming Congressional changes as a massive defeat. In fact, on a more granular level, they note that the redistricting process is super complex and depends on how state legislatures redraw district lines for the won or lost seats. Let’s dive in:
Lincoln Mitchell writes in CNN that the “impact of the census on the 2022 midterm elections is more complex because it is not only a question of what states lose or gain seats, but of who draws the district lines for those seats.” In fact, Mitchell believes Democrats will actually gain a seat in New York, California, and “also have a good chance of controlling the process in Colorado and Oregon.” With that said, he continues, this is “where the good news ends for the Democrats” because “most of the remaining states that are gaining or losing representatives have Republican state legislatures or partisan commissions.” Ultimately Mitchell views this as “the cost the Democrats continue to pay for not being sufficiently competitive at the state level back in the Obama years.”
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times editors zero in on potential legal objections coming down the pike. After all, they write, “Past censuses have drawn legal challenges,” and “Given the turmoil surrounding the 2020 count — including the Trump administration’s heavy-handed attempts to reduce compliance among immigrants and the logistical problems created by COVID-19 restrictions — legal challenges are likely this time around too.” The editors also say they “can live with one less Californian in the House.” Here’s why.
Lastly, Geoffrey Skelley and Nathaniel Rakich of FiveThirtyEight take a more statistical approach so follow closely. The two authors outline how “states where Republicans have full control of the redistricting process added two seats on net (four seats gained, two lost). Meanwhile, the few states where Democrats wield the redistricting pen subtracted one seat on net (one gained, two lost). States with independent redistricting commissions or where the two parties share redistricting power also lost a net of one seat (two gained, three lost).” What does this mumbo-jumbo mean? Well, according to Skelley and Rakich they “can now say with finality that Republicans will control the redrawing of 187 congressional districts (43 percent) — or 2.5 times as many as Democrats.” Simply put, Republicans “won” the 2020 census.
While Democrats admit they face a small setback with the upcoming redistricting process, they consider its overall impact perhaps less damaging than current news suggests.
On The Right
Republicans, on the other hand, are giddy about the Census results. They believe the demographic shifts highlight how Americans are voting with their feet and moving away from the Blue States. They also think the population changes will help in upcoming congressional and presidential elections.
Chuck DeVore writes in Fox News that California’s population decline is a result of “high taxes, heavy regulatory burden, and [a] terrible lawsuit climate [that] conspired to make the state among the costliest in the nation.” To bolster his argument, DeVore discusses one-way U-Haul rental costs, $5,896 to travel from California to Texas yet only $1,084 in the opposite direction. To DeVore, this highlights the higher demand for Texas relocations, rather than those to the Golden State. DeVore, however, cynically points out that the “Biden administration’s plans to push ahead with expensive energy regulations and higher taxes will…impose California’s self-inflicted misery nationwide.”
Dan McLaughlin, writing in National Review, sees “American democracy” as the big winner. That’s because “There were real fears that the Census numbers would come in too late to be practically applied to draw new district lines in the House, which could have set off all manner of trouble.” Additionally, he thinks the census results are mildly positive for Republican candidates in upcoming elections. For example, McLaughlin points out that states won by Trump saw “a net gain of three [electors],” while Biden’s haul saw a net loss of three. Additionally, “The states gaining House seats currently have a total of 52 Republican and 37 Democratic seats.” Overall, however, McLaughlin sees the “impact of the new map” as “less dramatic than we had been led by recent projections to believe.”
Finally, in HotAir, the pseudonymous Allahpundit takes aim at the Empire State. The writer wonders if Gov. “Cuomo’s horrible mismanagement of New York’s initial outbreak last spring cost his state an electoral vote and a House seat.” More specifically, Allahpundit questions whether New York’s pandemic outbreak and response “scared enough New Yorkers into moving to states like Florida and Texas.” After all, “it came down to just 89 people,” Allahpundit notes. He says “Given how many claims of sexual harassment against [the Governor] there are now, maybe Cuomo simply chased 89 women out of the state through his own bad behavior.” (Sidenote: NY Mag framed the issue of 89 people a different way with their headline which read: “New York Will Lose a Seat in Congress Because 89 People Didn’t Fill Out the Census.“
Republicans are happy but not spiking the football and dancing in the endzone just yet. They know there is a lot of game to be played and a large portion of the right thinks they’re playing against a team that cheats.
Flag This: US Census Shifts
Currently, just over 328 million people live in the United States. By the next census, roughly 350 million people will call themselves Americans, according to the US Census Bureau. “By 2058, the US population is expected to cross the 400-million threshold. By that time, the United States will be an older, more racially and ethnically pluralistic society,” the Census authors note. “Non-Hispanic Whites are projected to remain the single largest race or ethnic group throughout the next 40 years. Beginning in 2045, however, they are no longer projected to make up the majority of the US population.” 2030 is truly the turning point for the US, the authors write. “Beginning that year, all baby boomers will be older than 65 and, within the decade, older adults (65 years and older) are projected to outnumber children (under 18 years) for the first time in US history.” As the US spends more on COVID stimulus, infrastructure, and existing social welfare programs that include taking care of the older members of our society, Conservatives think “future generations will pay the price for our runaway national debt.” Progressives, however, point to “Modern monetary theory” and “economists who say huge government debt is not a problem.“
Flag Poll: US Census Shifts
What do you think about slowing population growth and its impact on the Congressional map and our country at large? Comment below and share your thoughts