In-Depth: What loss of congressional seats means to New York

U.S. Capitol building
Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 26, 2021

BUFFALO (WKBW) — When New York State lost a seat in Congress on Monday it was apportionment that forced the change.
Apportionment is the process of distributing 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states based on population counts.

It's a process that impacts your voice in Congress, and one that has New York State on quite the losing streak.

Since 1950 New York State had lost two or more congressional seats each time census data was released, or every ten years. According to information from the United Stats Census Bureau New York has moved from 43 seats in 1950 all the way down to 27 seats in 2010.

"It does take away our voice in Congress", says Shawn Donahue, who is a Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University at Buffalo. "If we are losing seats it means those seats are going somewhere else. A lot of seats have been going to California, Texas, Florida and Arizona."

This map currently displays results for each census every 10 years from 1910 to 2010, including the changes to each state’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Shifts in population and the number of congressional seats requires states to then redraw legislative boundaries, or redistrict.

New York's most recent congressional redistricting happened following the 2010 census. A March 2012 court order ended a stalemate between democrats and republicans reducing the number of congressional districts in New York from 29 to 27.

The move significantly changed the boundaries in Western New York melding parts of the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th districts into the new 23rd, 26th and 27th districts. The 27th district for example now includes parts of eight counties and stretches from Erie County all the way to Monroe County.

A map of New York Congressional districts from 2002-2012
NY Congressional_districts_from_2013_to_2022.png
New York congressional districts from 2013-2022

The apportionment numbers are a starting point but specific redistricting data isn't expected to be released from the bureau until sometime in September.