ST. LOUIS — Missouri’s population grew over the past decade, but not enough to win the state another seat in U.S. Congress, according to 2020 census figures released Monday. In contrast, Illinois grew so little it will lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The census reported 6.2 million Missouri residents, about 170,000 more than in 2010. Illinois added roughly 8,000, keeping the population at 12.8 million.
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said she was relieved to hear Missouri’s representation will remain the same.
“I actually thought we would lose a seat,” Jones said on Monday. “I thought we would lose population and be in a position to lose a seat again like we did 10 years ago.”
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page also weighed in on the census figures late Monday: “Representation in Washington is critical for the state and St. Louis County. We will continue focusing on growing our region to ensure our voice remains strong in D.C.”
The census release was the first step in the Congressional reapportionment process. It will also soon trigger a refiguring of congressional districts in each state. Missouri lawmakers have already formed a special redistricting committee. That committee now awaits census block-level data, expected at the end of September, said Rep. Dan Shaul, chair of the House Elections Committee and of the special committee. That is when committee members will put pen to paper to redraw districts, he said.
“We don’t know how that 6.1 million is spread throughout Missouri,” said Shaul, R-Imperial.
As a whole, the U.S. population rose 7.4% over the decade to more than 331 million residents, far slower than in the prior decade, and the second-slowest rate between censuses in U.S. history.
Population, and congressional representation, continued to shift south and west, the new data show. Six states — Texas, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon — gained seats. Seven states lost seats: California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Illinois.
The Midwest — defined by the bureau as North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — grew 3.1%, compared to a decade prior.
Charlie Dalton, executive director of the Missouri GOP, said he believes the population shifts show voters’ dissonance with the results of Democratic policies.
“Places like Missouri and Texas are much lower in taxes, and are much more business-friendly,” Dalton said.
Michael Butler, chairman of the Missouri Democrats, scoffed at Dalton.
“That’s preposterous,” Butler said. “Liberal states have some of the largest populations in the country, still.”
The Constitution requires a census every 10 years to count every single person living in the U.S. That count then helps figure the number of Congressional seats per state in the U.S. House of Representatives.
There are 435 seats in the U.S. House. Every state must have at least one representative. After the first 50 seats, the formula is used to determine how many additional representatives each state gets.
Missouri’s eight congressional districts are also redrawn every decade, to reflect changes within the state. The Missouri House began planning for the work more than a year ago by renovating space on the fifth floor of the Capitol for a demographer and others who are working on the process.
The House Special Committee on Redistricting began meeting in March. While the delay in the release of the federal numbers has caused heartburn in states whose laws impose strict deadlines for redistricting, there is no such deadline in Missouri.
Shaul, the committee chair, said the committee likely will meet into the fall months.
Candidates wanting to run for the reconfigured districts have until February to begin filing.
Kurt Erickson of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Illinois loses one congressional seat; Missouri stays the same
|Number of Seats||8||8||9||9||9||10||10||11||13||13||16||16|
|Change in Seats||0||-1||0||0||-1||0||-1||-2||0||-3||0||0|
|Average Population Per Seat||770,035||751,435||622,918||570,867||546,383||471,803||431,981||359,514||291,128||279,162||212,753||205,833|
|Number of Seats||17||18||19||20||22||24||24||25||26||27||27||27|
|Change in Seats||-1||-1||-1||-2||-2||0||-1||-1||-1||0||0||2|
|Average Population Per Seat||754,279||714,688||654,686||573,334||519,021||466,013||420,048||348,487||303,740||282,607||240,196||208,837|
Shifting population saw Utah with biggest percentage gain, West Virginia with biggest decline
Illinois’ population slid by 0.1% while Missouri’s rose by 2.8%. Source: U.S. Census
|Area||2020 Census Resident Population||2010 Census Resident Population||Numeric Change||Percent Change||State Rank Based on 2020 Census Resident Population||State Rank Based on 2010 Census Resident Population||State Rank Based on Numeric Change||State Rank Based on Percent Change|
|District of Columbia||689,545||601,723||87,822||14.60||X||X||X||X|