Despite rapid growth, Utah not awarded another seat in Congress
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Despite rapidly growing over the past decade, Utah’s population did not increase enough to gain another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Population boom not enough for another seat
New census data shows the Beehive State has grown over 18% in just the past decade. The state currently has around 3.3 million residents, although it’s not enough to gain another member of Congress.
“Our beautiful landscapes, business and family-friendly policies, and endless opportunities are hard to beat. How we grow matters and we must manage this rapid growth strategically,” tweeted Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson.
According to Mallory Bateman, senior research analyst and state data center coordinator at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, net migration accounted for 35% of the state’s growth.
Congressional seats on the move
On Thursday, it was announced six states are picking up House seats. Texas is gaining two, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will all add one seat.
Meanwhile, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are each losing one seat. The number of seats in the remaining 37 states will not change.
“Don’t anticipate that this will rewrite the math in some sort of definitive or fundamental way,” Chris Karpowitz, co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University, told the Deseret News. “A lot will depend on how the districts are drawn, whether the legislatures in place like Texas and North Carolina are going to draw those districts in ways that lead to competitive districts or whether they favor one party over the other.”
Although Utah won’t receive a fifth House member, political boundaries may be redrawn by the newly organized Utah Independent Redistricting Commission. The panel held its first meeting earlier this month.
Proposition 4 was approved in 2018, which promotes fairer drawing of congressional districts and legislative boundaries in order to avoid gerrymandering.
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