By Wendy Underhill
Politicos have been waiting, waiting, waiting … to know how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House for the next 10 years. We don’t have the answer for you, but we now know when we will know: by the end of April.
Ordinarily, the “apportionment” numbers would have been released by Dec. 31, 2020—but a few things stood in the U.S. Census Bureau’s way as it counted everyone in the country last year: a pandemic, a record-setting hurricane season (also a record-setting wildfire season), civil unrest and legal challenges at every corner.
So, the date was missed.
On a census update call with NCSL today, Kathleen Styles, chief of Decennial Communications and Stakeholder Relations for the bureau, reported that the data will arrive by (not on) April 30.
The even bigger news: The granular data required by redistricters won’t be available when it is due by federal statute (April 1) or even before July 31. Styles wasn’t able to tell us when after that the data will be delivered, or even precisely when we’ll know the new date. August? September? Feel free to guess.
The bureau is still figuring it out, and will release a new date in the not-too-distant future, and NCSL may again be the first to know.
This news—while not entirely unexpected—is likely to create a world of hurt, or at least some consternation, for states as they will have to delay the once-in-a-decade redrawing of congressional and legislative districts.
Want to hear all about it? Styles shares the big news within the first five minutes of this webinar.
Wendy Underhill is the director of NCSL's Elections and Redistricting Program.