How Many People Live in a Congressional District?

How many people live in the average US Congressional District? Well, it all depends. As of April 1, 2010, there were 308,745,538 persons living in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. Less the 601,723 people living in DC, there are 308,154,815 persons in the 50 states. This number, divided by 435 house seats, yields 708,376.6 persons per average Congressional District.

So, how does the total population vary, state-by-state? This can be tricky since the early results from Census 2010 are tabulated at the “old, Census 2000-based congressional districts.” And, as all citizens should know, the primary purpose of the decennial census is to reapportion and redistrict the boundaries of congressional house seats!

Early data from the 2010 decennial census (the head count conducted on April 1, 2010) shows data for the “111th Congress.” These were the congressional districts in place during the 111th Congress: 2009-2010.

The best data for congressional districts AFTER reapportionment and redistricting is available from the dataset “2010 113th Congress 100% Data” available on the US Census Bureau’s American Factfinder site. The 113th Congress was in 2013-2014. (As of 2017, we are in the 115th Congress!)

This analysis is derived from American FactFinder, using the “2010 113th Congress 100% data” using table DP-1 (Data Profile #1).

The smallest congressional districts, in terms of April 1, 2010 total population, are the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts in Rhode Island, at 526,283 and 526,284 persons, respectively. The at-large Congressional District in Wyoming has a April 1, 2010 population of 563,626.

The largest congressional districts are the at-large seats in Montana (989,415 persons); Delaware (897.934 persons); and South Dakota (814,180 persons).

California has the most congressional districts (53) with total population ranging from 702,904 to 702,906. That’s about as equal as it gets — a difference of 2 people from the smallest to largest congressional district!

Texas has the second most congressional districts (36) with total population ranging from 698,472 to 698,504. They’re almost equal.

New York has the third most congressional districts (27) with total population ranging from 717,707 to 717,708. That’s about perfect redistricting!

What stands out is the difference in total population in the eight Maryland congressional districts. They range from a low of 716,862 to 728,448, a difference of 1.6 percent! (I do not know why this is.)

For the most part, the total population difference within each state is very minor to negligible.

Of course, the characteristics of the population on April 1, 2010, is likely to show more interesting differences, within and between states. And, of course, the population does change throughout the decade, so the April 1, 2010 total population in Congressional Districts is likely to be different than what is reported for 2015 and other years.

The bottom line is that the average total population in US Congressional Districts is 708,376.6 persons, as of April 1, 2010. There is more difference in Congressional District population between states, compared to within state differences.

 

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