Could Minnesota Lose A Congressional Seat?

The latest population growth report from the U.S. Census Bureau continues to spell trouble for Minnesota.

Credit: Architect of the Capitol

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Amid reports of lagging population growth, some analysts now worry Minnesota could lose a congressional seat in 2020.

States are granted congressional seats according to their population relative to other states. Current population growth trends put Minnesota at high risk of having to give up a seat to another state.

A recent population growth report released by the U.S. Census Bureau came with mixed results for Minnesota. Alpha News gave a full analysis of the report highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly.

While the Twin Cities metro area grew by six percent, which is higher than the national average, the growth is unimpressive compared to other peer cities. Several metro areas with similar demographics and economies had double-digit growth. The Austin metro area grew by 19.8 percent, over three times as much growth as the Twin Cities. In Dallas-Fort Worth, another metropolis that is considered a peer city, the population grew by 12.8 percent. A similar story can be found in Florida, where major cities have added hundreds of thousands of residents since the last Census.

The lagging population growth was made worse by the negative domestic migration rate. Data shows Minnesota is losing more residents to other states than it gains. Since 2010, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area has a net loss of 8,015 residents to other states. The saving grace for Minneapolis-St. Paul is a higher rate of international migration compared to domestic migration. The Twin Cities welcomed over 65,000 foreign-born immigrants since 2010.

While Minnesota loses residents to states like Texas and Florida, now it appears the state is at risk of losing a congressional seat as well.

“It’s not certain, but it looks serious and it looks like it’s maybe even likely,” State demographer Susan Brower told the Star Tribune.

If Minnesota were to lose a congressional seat, the state’s eight congressional districts would have to be divided up into seven logical pieces during redistricting. This would mean at least one of the delegators would be ousted in 2022.

Losing a congressional seat would not only lessen Minnesota’s voice in Washington, but also the state’s influence in the Electoral College. A state is given electors based on the number of representatives in Congress. A loss of a congressional seat would mean the state would only have nine electoral votes.

Minnesota faced concerns of losing a congressional seat in the 2010 Census, but narrowly held onto its eighth seat. The 2020 Census is predicted to be even tighter. There is also growing concerns over the accuracy of the census.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has labeled the 2020 Census “high risk” as a result of new techniques being used to collect the data. The U.S. Census Bureau is planning to employ technology and innovation in ways not previously used in other censuses. The GAO is concerned the Census Bureau is unprepared to roll out the new techniques and procedures.

A high risk of failures or inaccuracies from the Census Bureau does not help Minnesota’s growing risk of losing a congressional seat. However, the estimates leading up to the census are not perfect, and the actual population count could have different results for Minnesota.

The last time Minnesota lost a congressional seat was in 1963 when the ninth district was eliminated.

Christine Bauman
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