New York is set to lose two seats in Congress as the state's slow growth has been outpaced in other states, while New Jersey will lose one of its 13 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to new census datat released today.
New York's current 29-member Congressional delegation will drop to 27, the lowest number since 1823. The new census found New York's population grew just 2.1 percent since the 2000 count, less than half the pace of growth the state experienced through the 1990s.
The drop in Congressional representation is a blow to New York, which proudly calls itself the Empire State but has seen its political influence in Washington wane over time. New York's delegation peaked just after the 1940 census, when it had 45 House members. It has slowly declined since, with a precipitous drop of five seats after the 1980 census. New York lost 3 seats after the 1990 count and 2 more after 2000.
Only one other state, Ohio, is losing 2 seats based on the 2010 figures. Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are all losing one apiece, while most other states are staying the same or gaining a seat. Texas is the biggest winner, picking up four new seats for a total of 36.
In New York, the Democratic-controlled Assembly and newly Republican-led state Senate are tasked with drawing the new districts, all but guaranteeing disagreement over the contours of the new map. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch has spearheaded an effort to persuade lawmakers to pass legislation allowing a nonpartisan commission draw the districts, which the Assembly and Senate would later ratify.
Meanwhile, New Jersey -- which has a population of 8.8 million and the country's 11th most populated state -- is one of eight states set to lose a seat in Congress.
New Jersey's downward trend began 30 years ago when the Garden State lost its 15th congressional seat. New Jersey also lost a seat after 1990 count, but the number of congressional districts remained unchanged in 2000.
The numbers will trigger a high-stakes process where the dominant party in each state gets the chance to redraw the election map, shaping the political landscape for the next 10 years.
Republicans and Democrats are already meeting to determine how the new congressional districts will be drawn.