New Census numbers could mean bad news for Missouri, Illinois | St. Louis Public Radio

New Census numbers could mean bad news for Missouri, Illinois

Dec 20, 2010

New 2010 U.S. Census figures will be released tomorrow.  And that could be bad news for the St. Louis region.

Some experts say the state is just shy of the population it would need to retain all nine of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Washington University political science professor Steven Smith says it would be "a substantial loss" for Missouri's influence on Capitol Hill.
"An awful lot of what goes on in Washington takes place in the committee rooms and obviously with one fewer legislator, Missouri will end up weaker representation in that committee system," Smith says.
Smith also says southern and western states, which have seen considerable population growth, are expected to gain seats in Congress as a result of this year's census.
The 435 House seats are divided up among the states every ten years based on population data compiled by the U.S. Census.  Smith also says Illinois may also lose a seat.
"So when the St. Louis region is lobbying in Congress for its interests or its legislators are lobbying the executive branch for special consideration for the region, clearly the Missouri and Illinois delegations are important and they'll definitely be weaker in the new decade."
If the states do lose congressional seats, the state legislatures would then be responsible for re-drawing the district boundaries.