The Census Bureau just released its 2016 Population Estimates. Let’s take a peek at what the Electoral College might look like in 2020 using the PSC Apportionment calculator. The easiest calculation is to just put the 2016 estimates into the calculator (remember to delete Washington, DC). In that scenario:
The losers: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania
The winners: Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas
If we take the 2010 to 2016 growth rate and extend it to 2020, this is the scenario:
Losers: Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia
Winners: Arizona, Colorado, Florida (2), North Carolina, Oregon, Texas (3)
Notable in this scenario is Rhode Island losing an electoral seat. It is just slightly larger than Montana – 1,056,426 vs 1,042,520. But, Rhode Island has had an extra seat since 1990 when Montana lost 1 seat in the House of Representatives. Montana is on the cusp of getting that 2nd representative in the House – it just needs ~5,000 more people than our 2020 projection, which is not an unrealistic scenario.
One thing that is unrealistic about the previous scenario is the fast growth of North Dakota during this period. North Dakota has been the fastest growing state for the past 4 years, but its growth rate dropped to 37th fastest in 2016 due to the collapse of oil prices and thus the fracking industry. Thus, a more realistic estimate might be to use the 2015-2016 rate for the last 4 years of the decade. In that scenario, the results are exactly the same, except that now Montana needs only 550 more people to gain a 2nd seat in the House of Representatives.
Vintage Population Estimates (2016)
State Population Estimates (2016)
PSC Apportionment Calculator
Representations apportioned to each state (1790 to 2010)
Congressional Apportionment Resource