The state of Minnesota narrowly held onto its eight congressional seats, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday, a near-miss to the state’s clout in Washington.
Minnesota has grown more slowly than many other states, and has been on the edge of losing one of its seats in the U.S. House for decades; the last time it happened was after the 1960 population count.
Census Bureau officials released the details at a Monday afternoon news conference.
Preliminary estimates released by the Census Bureau in December found the state was 25,554 people short of holding on to all of its seats, coming in behind New York but ahead of Ohio, California and Virginia.
The process, known as apportionment, follows the once-a-decade nationwide population count conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The numbers help apportion all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives based on state populations.
The final numbers were supposed to be released by the end of December, but the data were delayed after the 2020 Census count was plagued with budget constraints, technical difficulties and logistical struggles amid the pandemic.
While Minnesota’s population is growing more slowly than some other states, it led the nation with a 75% self-response rate to the census. State redistricting experts said that could give Minnesota an edge over other states with a lower response rate.
Losing a seat would trigger a complex realignment of the state’s political districts, requiring the seven that remain to grow by roughly 100,000 people. It could put some members of Congress in the same district and scramble the political dynamics in others.
As of the 2020 elections, Democrats and Republicans are even in the state’s eight-member House delegation. Democrats hold seats the seats that cover Minneapolis, St. Paul and a number of their respective inner-ring suburbs; and two suburban-to-exurban districts in the south and west Twin Cities.
Republicans hold three much geographically larger districts that combined cover most of greater Minnesota, and a fourth district that combines parts of the north metro and the St. Cloud area.
The Minnesota Legislature is tasked with redrawing the political boundaries for seats in Congress and the statehouse, but disagreements and divided government have kicked that process to the courts for decades.
That’s likely to happen again this cycle, with Minnesota’s Legislature divided between Republicans and Democrats.
Briana Bierschbach • 651-925-5042
Patrick Condon • 612-673-4413