Pennsylvania will lose one of its 18 seats in Congress based on the 2020 Census, Acting Census Director Ron Jarmin announced Monday.

Pennsylvania is one of seven states slated to lose a seat in Congress, as the population has continued to shift from the Northeast and Midwest to Southern and Western states, Jarmin said.

Jarmin said that the population increased by 4.1 percent from 2010 to 2020 in the Northeastern region of the country, including Pennsylvania. But growth was faster in the Southeast, where the population increased by more than 10% and in the west where it increased by nine percent.

Texas will gain two seats. Florida, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will each gain one seat in Congress.

In addition to Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio and West Virginia will all lose one seat in Congress.

Experts contacted for this story said it’s too soon to guess specifically which congressional district will disappear due to the reapportionment, but the population shifts suggest it will almost certainly be from the western half of the state.

“Exactly where will be determined by politics,” said Chris Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College. “Math is limiting the choices,” he said.

The areas of growth in the state are in the southeast, Lehigh Valley and some of Southcentral Pennsylvania. On the other hand, the areas of population loss have been in the west and northwestern portions of the state, he said.

Under Pennsylvania’s redistricting process, the Congressional districts are drawn through a piece of legislation that must be approved by the governor.

A decade ago, Republicans held the governor’s mansion and the majority in the General Assembly, G. Terry Madonna, senior fellow in residence for political affairs at Millersville University.

This time, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is in office while Republicans still hold majorities in both chambers of the General assembly.

With a divided government, it would seem more likely that the Congressional maps are less partisan, he said.

"It has to be a compromise, for obvious reasons," Madonna said.

The state Supreme Court ruled in 2018 threw out the state’s congressional maps after the justices determined that the maps had been illegally gerrymandered.

At the time the Supreme Court intervened, Republicans held 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 Congressional seats even though Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the state.

Now, with the maps redrawn by the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans each hold nine seats.

Madonna said that if a member of Congress were to leave office or retire, it would provide an easier opportunity for the state’s maps to be redrawn without eliminating a seat occupied by an incumbent member of Congress.

John Finnerty reports from the Harrisburg Bureau for the New Castle News and other Pennsylvania newspapers owned by CNHI. Email him at jfinnerty@cnhi.com and follow him on Twitter @cnhipa.

 

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John Finnerty reports from the Harrisburg Bureau for the New Castle News and other Pennsylvania newspapers owned by CNHI. Email him at jfinnerty@cnhi.com and follow him on Twitter @cnhipa.

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