What the 2020 Census tells us about NY so far

The Census Bureau released 2020 numbers this week. What do we know about NY?

Let’s start with the big headline: New York State is about to lose a seat in Congress. New York was 89 people short of keeping the House seat, though it’s not that simple.

Wait, how does this work?

There are 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and these seats are divided among the 50 states based on the population, including military personnel and federal civilian employees living outside the U.S.

For our mathematically inclined or curious readers, the Census has the apportionment formula here.

Changes in House seats

These states will be losing House seats:

  • California (-1)
  • Illinois (-1)
  • Michigan (-1)
  • New York (-1)
  • Ohio (-1)
  • Pennsylvania (-1)
  • West Virginia (-1)

These states will be gaining seats:

  • Colorado (+1)
  • Florida (+1)
  • Montana (+1)
  • North Carolina (+1)
  • Oregon (+1)
  • Texas (+2)

And what else do we now know?

About 99.9% was the response rate, according to the Census. This includes both self-responses and nonresponse followups.

New York’s proportion of population and congressional seats peaked in the 1930s and 1940s, and has since continuously declined with each subsequent census count.

U.S. population grew by 7.3% over the decade, while New York’s population grew by only 4.2%, ranking us #33 out of 50 in terms of population change. Our neighbors New Jersey and Connecticut saw a 5.65% and 0.89% growth respectively.

What else should I care about?

The 2020 Census also kicks off a once-a-decade redistricting battle. In order for redistricting (redrawing legislative boundaries) to happen, states need more than population count.

States require, at census block level, these additional population characteristics:

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Voting age
  • Housing occupancy status
  • Group quarters population (group living arrangement)

That data is not yet available, but the Census will provide the data by Sept. 30, 2021.