California may lose congressional seat due to migration


Fueled by residents leaving the state, largely due to the high cost of living, California is currently at risk of losing a congressional seat. [LA Times]

On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates. California was one of 27 states that lost residents through net domestic migration. California lost about 203,000 residents.

Next year’s census count will determine congressional reapportionment. If California were to lose a congressional seat, it would mark the first time that occurred in California’s history as a state.

California’s potential loss in reapportionment would decrease the state’s seat total in the House of Representatives from 53 to 52.

William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said the potential loss of a congressional seat has a lot to do with California residents moving to Arizona, Texas, Colorado and other western states.

Texas, the state to which an estimated 63,000 Californians moved in 2017, stands to potentially gain three congressional seats. Arizona, Colorado and Oregon may gain one seat each.

California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission will hold public hearings in 2021 to determine how to redraw congressional maps.

Paul Mitchell, a leading analyst of the redistricting process, said two areas that may be at risk of losing a congressional seat are the communities located at the intersection of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties and the suburbs east of San Francisco.

However, other changes to congressional maps, particularly in the Central Valley, are also expected, so it might be difficult to notice the impact of losing a House seat due to population, Mitchell said.

But, Mitchell also said if California’s Latino and non-citizen populations do not participate in the census as much as state officials would like, California could be at risk of losing more than one seat.