Reapportionment: Year of Decision

Archive Report

Mechanics and Politics

Reapportionment, Redistricting Defined

At the beginning of each decade, the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are divvied up among the states on the basis of the decennial U.S. population census. States whose populations grew significantly over the previous 10 years are given additional congressional seats, while those that lost people or grew very slowly have seats taken away. For the rest, delegation size remains unchanged. The states that gain or lose seats must make extensive changes in their congressional district maps. Even those states with no change in their delegation size must make modifications that account for population shifts within their boundaries.

Reapportionment, the distribution of House seats among the states, and redistricting, the redrawing of congressional district lines within the ...

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