Colorado will gain an eighth congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022, thanks to a statewide population increase of more than 725,000 people from 2010 to 2020.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the 2020 Census apportionment results late last month, the first batch of data to be made public from last year’s nationwide headcount. Every 10 years, the bureau uses census results to divide the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the collection of the 2020 Census, including the temporary suspension of in-person fieldwork, a delay in the participation deadline, and a postponed delivery of preliminary apportionment data from December 31, 2020 to April 30 of this year.

Census results tell us that the United States population hovered around 331 million in 2020, experiencing a 7.4 percent growth rate over the last 10 years. The nation’s growth rate is down 2.3 percent from the 2010 Census, marking the second slowest rate of population growth ever recorded in the United States, second only to the 1930s — the decade of the Great Depression.

Colorado, which experienced a 14.8 percent growth rate from 2010 to 2020, is growing twice as fast as the nation. The 2020 Census tallied Colorado’s population to include 5,773,714 people.

Census data also showed migration to states in the American West and South, the continuation of an almost century-long out-migration from the American Midwest and Northeast. According to the 2020 Census, the South grew by 10.2%, the West by 9.2%, the Northeast by 4.1% and the Midwest by 3.1% over the last 10 years.

Colorado, Oregon, Montana, Florida and North Carolina gained one congressional seat each, while Texas gained two. California, Michigan,  Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York all lost congressional seats.

Colorado, which last gained a congressional seat following the 2000 Census, does not yet know where its eighth district will be located, whether in the densely populated Front Range or in a more rural region of the state.

The Colorado Independent Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Commission is responsible for deciding where the new district will be formed. The commission was established by voters in 2018 in an effort to keep partisan interests out of the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts.

The census bureau will not release its final round of data needed for redistricting decisions until late September due to pandemic-related delays. This could mean that Colorado’s new congressional map will not be finalized until the end of 2021.

Population data on age, sex, race and ethnicity from the 2020 Census will be released at a later date.

Rachel Woolworth

Herald Editor

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