07 June 2011

House Apportionment Winners and Losers

Historical Oddity
Since 1913, the US has mostly kept the same number of US Representatives: 435. This is in spite of the addition of two more states and the more-than-tripling of the population since 1913. If you think this is funny, think if the US had continued representative democracy at the same rate as in the 1790s, where every 30,000 people had one congressman. We would need a room that could fit 10,000 voting people. C-SPAN would need a lot more cameras.

Easiest Math Ever
As the 2010 census concluded that there were about 308 million Americans, each of those 435 representatives represents about 708,000 Americans. In order to figure out how many of these 435 Representatives are apportioned to each state, take the state's population and divide it by 708,000 people. Then round this number up or down to its closest integer. That's it, you're done.

Actually that's not entirely true, as three states (starting in 2013) get the benefit of x+1 Reps in spite of only having x.49 population. Washington, Minnesota, and Rhode Island? Congratulations, you get to be slightly more influential for a decade than math would suggest.

Oddly enough, North Carolina is 20,000 people shy of acquiring the same bonus, so with x.46 population, they get x Reps. And Missouri? Well. Missouri has almost 700,000 more people than Minnesota, and almost 700,000 fewer people than Washington. As Minnesota has 8 Reps, and Washington has 10, then it makes sense that Missouri should have 9. Which is why they have 8.

Bottom Line
Missouri always get screwed.

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