California Will Lose A U.S. House Seat And An L.A. District Could Be Vulnerable
California must give up one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives starting with the 2022 midterm elections, based on initial 2020 Census results released Monday. That means California will lose representation in Congress and the electoral college for the first time in state history.
Population researchers had predicted this outcome for years, and the state even spent $187 million on a census awareness campaign, in part, to prevent it.
Still, the early 2020 Census results confirmed fears about California's slowing population growth relative to other states, like Texas, which will gain two seats.
The extensive outreach effort prevented the loss of an additional seat from California, which some researchers had predicted, said Ditas Katague, the campaign's statewide director. "There is a sense of relief," she said. "It was well worth the investment."
Despite months of political and legal battles over how the Trump administration conducted the census, “we are very confident in the data we released today,” said U.S. Census Bureau Associate Director Victoria Velkoff. Most state populations very closely matched the bureau’s estimates, Velkoff said, which is one way of measuring accuracy.
This leaves California’s redistricting commission with the tricky job of redrawing congressional lines with one fewer district — reducing representation from communities yet to be determined.
Already, some Claremont McKenna researchers have labeled districts in Los Angeles as particularly vulnerable on account of slow local population growth, specifically downtown L.A., East L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley.
"The growth has been so slow relative to the rest of the state that it doesn't justify keeping as many of the seats as we've had before," said Douglas Johnson, an author of the Claremont McKenna study.
The census count determines the fate of billions of dollars in federal funding for public education, health services and even disaster planning. L.A. County has the largest hard-to-count population in the nation.