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Activity Number: 159 - What Happens When the U.S. Population Is Undercounted in the Decennial Census?
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 : 10:00 AM to 11:50 AM
Sponsor: Committee of Representatives to AAAS
Abstract #309640
Title: What Happens to the Distribution of Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives with a Census Undercount?
Author(s): Dudley L Poston*
Companies: Texas A&M University
Keywords: apportionment; census; immigration; undercount; US House

This paper shows how the distribution among the states of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will change if certain populations are more undercounted than others. The decennial census is important not just for obtaining an accurate count of the U.S. population. Its results are also used as the basis for the distribution of political power among the states. The population size of each state determines how the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are distributed. Our research shows that in 2020 there will be a net change of nine seats in the U.S. House. Texas will gain three seats, Florida, two, and four states will gain one. Nine states will lose one seat. We then show how this distribution will change if we remove undocumented persons from the apportionment populations of the states. We then show how the distribution of seats would change if a citizenship question had been added to the 2020 census questionnaire, and, accordingly, some persons did not respond to the census. We entertain several immigration-based scenarios in our research to provide insights into the ways that immigration, past and present, has shaped the apportionment of seats in the House.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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