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If we aren’t all counted, Ohio will have its smallest Congressional delegation in 200 years

Emily Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
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March 30, 2020
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The U.S. Constitution requires that the decennial census be used to allocate the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives each state receives. For the past 50 years, the decennial census and reapportionment has meant a loss of congressional seats for Ohio.

 For the past 50 years, the decennial census and reapportionment has meant a loss of congressional seats for Ohio.

For the past 50 years, the decennial census and reapportionment has meant a loss of congressional seats for Ohio.Throughout the 1800s, the number of House seats grew with America’s population. But changes that capped the total number of House seats means that apportionment has been a zero sum game for almost 100 years. There are 435 total seats to be allocated among the states based on population. States that are growing the fastest get more seats, which are taken from states where total population is growing more slowly, or in some cases, shrinking.

 Ohio and New York saw the biggest drops, losing two House seats while Texas’s addition of four seats was the largest.

After the last decennial census in 2010, 10 states lost a combined total of 12 seats, which were offset by gains in eight fast-growing states. Ohio and New York saw the biggest drops, losing two House seats while Texas’s addition of four seats was the largest.  

If current population trends continue, Ohio is projected to lose another seat following the 2020 census, bringing our total down to 15. Ohio won’t have had this small a number of seats in the House for 200 years. Ohioans still have important committee appointments in both chambers of Congress, so it’s hard to judge if Ohio will lose congressional power. But our delegation, and therefore our voting block, may be smaller.

 Ohio will fall about 73,000 residents short of the number needed to keep our sixteenth House seat, if current population trends continue.

According to analysis by Cleveland.com, Ohio will fall about 73,000 residents short of the number needed to keep our sixteenth House seat, if current population trends continue. This is just one reason that it is so important that every person living in Ohio as of April 1, 2020 be counted in the 2020 census.  

There are certain groups that tend to be undercounted in the census. The Census Bureau has identified more than a dozen categories of people who are considered hard-to-locate, hard-to-contact, hard-to-persuade, or hard-to-interview. They include young children, renters and people of color, among many others. Local Complete Count Committees are targeting these groups. The COVID-19 pandemic is upending outreach plans and we are in real danger of seeing larger than usual undercounts.

The COVID-19 pandemic is upending outreach plans and we are in real danger of seeing larger than usual undercounts.

Representation in Congress is just one more reason that Ohio needs every person in our state to be counted!

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