Are Florida, Tennessee, and Texas owed additional House seats?

The Census Bureau dragged its feet but finally delivered their summary of the 2020 Census to Congress, together with the new apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and votes in the Electoral College. The following image from Wikipedia shows the official new counts of representatives to the several states, which takes effect as of the 2022 elections.

The map is color coded to show states whose House delegations either grew (green) or shrank (pumpkin) since the previous Census in 2010, effective for the elections from 2012 through 2020.

I went through the apportionment calculations based on the official tallies for 2020, and they are correct – so far! One week ago, the Census Bureau released a follow-up report: “U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2020 Undercount and Overcount Rates by State and the District of Columbia”, whose summary you can read here:

The full report appears here (see page 16):

Officially, this is the “Post-Enumeration Survey”. I call this the “oops” report. In it, they acknowledge substantial overcounts and undercounts of the state populations. The miscounts that are statistically significant are as follows:

  • Undercount: Arkansas (-5.04%), Florida (-3.48%), Illinois (-1.97%), Mississippi (-4.11%), Tennessee (-4.78%) and Texas (-1.92%).
  • Overcount: Delaware (+5.45%), Hawaii (+6.79%), Massachusetts (+2.24%), Minnesota (+3.84%), New York (+3.44%), Ohio (+1.49%), Rhode Island (+5.05%) and Utah (+2.59%).

This announcement appears to imply that the original “official” numbers on which the new apportionment was based are incorrect. It is a simple matter to produce the new, presumably correct numbers. The size of the change is large enough to change the apportionment of House seats and Electoral College votes for some states.

Taking into account only the statistically significant changes, I find that both Florida and Texas are owed one more seat (over and above the additional seats they earned in the map above), and one seat is removed from each of Minnesota and Rhode Island.

If we include all the changes, statistically significant or not, then in addition to the two seats transferred as above, another seat is transferred, from Colorado to Tennessee. The additional seat transfers appear on the following map. Again, these transfers are in addition to the ones implied by the map above.

The “oops” report contains new population estimates for the states, but they do not match my calculations of the correct numbers. Curiously, when I worked out the apportionment based on the new “official” numbers, it happened to coincide exactly with the original apportionment for 2020. In their view, the massive overcounts and undercounts to which they admit have no bearing on the apportionment of representatives.

I find this rather suspicious, and believe it should be investigated at least by Florida and Texas, which seem to be owed one more House seat, and one more electoral vote, each. I tweeted at the governors of both states, but have received no reply yet. They may have grounds for a lawsuit. At a minimum, they are owed an explanation by the Census Bureau.

2 thoughts on “Are Florida, Tennessee, and Texas owed additional House seats?

  1. Thanks for this, Surak. There is even a further report on the “Sources and Accuracy” of the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES):

    Click to access 2020-source-and-accuracy-pes-estimates.pdf

    While I’ve only read the summary in full, and just skimmed over the two weightier documents (reading in detail in a few places), my impression is that since the PES was necessarily a sample-based assessment of the actual census, it was only ever intended as a resource for improvements that could be implemented in the 2030 census.

    Since the decennial census is a federal undertaking, it seems to me that Texas, Florida and Tennessee could at most lobby the Census Bureau for a repeat census in their states, on the grounds of concerns prompted by the PES (the significantly overcounted states would have no motivation to do this). For all I know, such a possibility may be ruled out.

    My overall impression (for the little that this is worth) was that the PES was conducted diligently and without political interference, and I would guess that this was allowed precisely because the PES could not effect any change in the allocation of seats.

    I’m still not clear about the counting, in the census itself, of illegal immigrants (although the category is moot in a country that is increasingly post-legal). The regime could, in future, make a sly manoeuvre such as declaring that such persons were not eligible to be included in the census figures, but were eligible to vote.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rocio, here is a remarkable coincidence. Stephen Moore wrote a column about this at The Epoch Times, reprinted here:

      Sadly, I cannot contact him either, any more than Greg Abbott or Ron DeSantis. I hope that Moore can bring some attention to the issue. I assume (or hope) that Moore knows the mathematics behind apportionment.

      I hope that FL and TX (possibly TN as well) sue the Census Bureau, and demand their additional House seats and Electoral College votes. This needs to be settled fast. Perhaps the governors of those states can appoint at-large representatives until the second redistricting is complete.

      Liked by 1 person

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