Southern California Faces Loss of One Congressional District, May narrowly hold on to second

Southern California is in danger of losing two congressional representatives following the 2020 Census, according to an analysis by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College using new population projections released by software and data firm ESRI. ESRI projects that California will drop from 53 to 52 congressional seats in the 2020/2021 reapportionment, while narrowly holding onto the 52nd district by only 1,324 people over Arizona and 3,248 over Minnesota. California’s large “hard to count” population could easily result in California losing a second congressional representative if California’s COVID-impaired 2020 Census count lags behind other states.

Based on the Rose Institute’s regional model, the San Gabriel Valley/Gateway Cities part of Los Angeles County is the region most likely to lose a congressional seat. According to Rose Institute Research Affiliate Douglas Johnson:

“California has never experienced the political shock of losing a congressional district — much less two. Losing seats inevitably triggers political infighting and the long-term loss of voices and influence in Washington. The possibility of saving at least one of those seats should inspire state leaders and residents to redouble their efforts to ensure every California resident is counted in the 2020 census.”

If the statewide count slips, the second lost seat will likely come from the Orange County/San Diego area, although there is a chance the second lost seat could come from the Central Valley region.

In 2021, California will draw new state legislative and congressional districts based on official data from the 2020 census. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission will propose district lines for the state legislature, congressional delegation, and the Board of Equalization. The plans are required to contain an equal number of persons in each district. The new maps will reflect the relative shifts in population among various areas in the state, and the state’s projected loss of one or two congressional districts. The 2022 elections will be the first to use the new district lines. The change would also reduce California’s electoral votes from 55 in 2020 to 54 or 53 in 2024.

For more information about the Rose Institute, please visit http://roseinstitute.org. For more information on this analysis, please contact Rose Institute Director Andrew Busch at andrew.busch@cmc.edu, or Rose Institute Research Affiliates Douglas Johnson (djohnson@ndcresearch.com  or 310-200-2058) or Justin Levitt (Justin.Levitt@csulb.edu or 480-390-7480). The ESRI report is available at https://www.esri.com/about/newsroom/blog.

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