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We’re gonna keep it!: RI retains both House seats in 2020 Census

US House seat allocation by state, prior to 2020 Census results (Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

RI will keep both of its two seats in the US House of Representatives based upon the results of the 2020 Census released today. Defying expectations in the last two decennial censuses ( “We’re Gonna Lose It! RI likely to lose one of two US House seats after 2020”, by Michael Bilow, Apr 3, 2019), RI this time came within 19,127 people of losing its second seat, a relatively close call constituting 1.742% of its total 1,098,163 population. According to Election Data Services, the universally acknowledged private consulting firm with expertise on this issue, this was enough for RI to claim House seat number 428 out of the 435 available. RI would need another 770,793 people to acquire a third seat, a virtual impossibility.

That put RI into a surprisingly safe range, with the “bubble” allocating the last seat number 435 to Minnesota by a razor-thin 26 people out of 5,709,752 population, or 0.0004554%, and failing to allocate the hypothetical next seat number 436 to New York by 89 people out of 20,215,751 population, or 0.0004403%. Both Montana, gaining a second seat by 6,371 people out of 1,085,407 (0.5870%), and Ohio, losing its 16th seat by 11,462 people out of 11,808,848 (0.0971%), had allocations decided by fewer people than RI.

Most states, as always, retained the same number of House seats, but there was a net shift of seven seats. Texas gained 2 for a total of 38, Colorado gained 1 for 8, Florida gained 1 for 28, Montana gained 1 for 2, North Carolina gained 1 for 14, and Oregon gained 1 for 6. California lost 1 for now 52, Illinois lost 1 for 17, Michigan lost 1 to 13, New York lost 1 to 26, Ohio lost 1 to 15, Pennsylvania lost 1 to 17, and West Virginia lost 1 to 2.

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Massachusetts safely retained its 9th seat by a margin of 204,963 people out of 7,033,469 (2.914%), the 399th seat allocated out of 435.

After RI qualified for the 428th House seat, seats 429 through 435 went to, in order, Alabama, North Carolina, Oregon, Colorado, California, Montana, and Minnesota, all effectively closer calls than RI.

While RI is the smallest state by land area, it is far from the smallest by population, with Wyoming (577,719), Vermont (643,503), Alaska (736,081), North Dakota (779,702), South Dakota (887,770), Delaware (990,837) and Montana (1,085,407) all having fewer people.

Because the Electoral College that chooses the president and vice-president is constitutionally allocated the number of electors from each state by adding Senate seats (always two) plus House seats, three electoral votes would have shifted from Biden to Trump based upon which states they carried in 2020.

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