Slow population growth costs Ohio a U.S. House seat


By J.D. Davidson - The Center Square



WASHINGTON — Ohio’s slow population growth has led to a loss of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives based on numbers released Monday by U.S. Census Bureau.

Ohio, which had a population growth of 2.3% over the past decade and a total population of 11,799,448, will see its House delegation fall from 16 members to 15 when the Census Bureau releases redistricting information to states in August and the Ohio Redistricting Commissions draws new congressional lines.

“This news isn’t new, and only represents another reason why the General Assembly needs to remain focused on regulatory and tax reform,” said John Fortney, director of communications for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus. “When competing with states that pay dividends with warm weather, no state income taxes and sunshine, Ohio must be able to capitalize on its location to population centers, skilled workforce and its value to entrepreneurs both large and small.”

The information released Monday only involved data down to the state level.

The representation loss based on the 2020 census continues a trend for Ohio, which lost two seats after the 2010 census, one in 2000, two in 1990, two in 1980 and one in 1970. It last gained a House member in 1960.

Ohio remains the nation’s seventh-most populous state.

Some changes came from thin margins. New York lost a House seat, but would have kept it if it had 89 more people. Ohio was the next-closest state to not lose a seat.

Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and California each lost a seat. Texas gained two seats, while Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Montana and Oregon each gained one. The shift in seats was the smallest shift since 1941.

The U.S. population grew by 7.4% from 2010 to a total population of 331,449,281. The growth rate was the second lowest in U.S. history, ahead of only 7.3% from 1930-40. Southern states grew more than any other at a rate of 10.2%, while the Midwest had the slowest rate at 3.1%.

California is the country’s largest state in terms of population, and Wyoming is the smallest.

The data released Monday establishes the number of seats in the U.S. House Representatives for each state. The totals include population of each person living in a state, along with overseas military and federal civilian employees living with them would be placed in a home state.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit in February against President Joe Biden’s administration and the U.S. Census Bureau to get population for the state in order to move forward with congressional redistricting.

Ohio voters created the Ohio Redistricting Commission in 2018 for districting for the General Assembly. The commission consists of the governor, auditor, secretary of state and appointments from Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate.

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By J.D. Davidson

The Center Square