Texas will gain two new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives under new Census numbers released Monday. It is the only state to have gained more than one seat.
Census figures put the current population of Texas at 29,145,505, a dramatic increased from the 25.1 million recorded in 2010. After a decade of explosive population growth and President Biden’s reversal of Trump’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from Census counts, Texas’s share of votes will increase to 38 for the next decade. As it stands, the state’s congressional delegation consists of 22 Republicans and 13 Democrats, with one vacant seat following the recent death of Republican Ron Wright, for which there a special election will be held on May 1st.
Rapid growth in the state has proven to be largely driven by people of color, with Hispanics accounting for more than half the state’s population growth and the Asian population having seen the most substantial increase since 2010.
Disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and the tumultuous political transition which followed the 2020 presidential election, the initial timeline for the decennial count was to deliver data to lawmakers in February. This would allow for re-configured representation for the regular 2021 legislative session, as required by the state constitution. The delay may raise legal problems in what is already a complicated hyper-partisan affair and could upend next sets of elections. Texas has a long history of discriminatory gerrymandering and their maps have repeatedly violated the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. The likely result of the census data will be Texas lawmakers reconvening in the fall to craft new Congressional and legislative districts.
Other states gaining a seat are Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Meanwhile, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will lose one seat each.