The number of voting members in the US House of Representatives has stagnated at 435 for more than 100 years.1class = “footnote”> even though the country’s population has more than tripled in that time. This has created the perfect recipe for uneven representation: each decade, these 435 House seats must be reassigned to adapt to population changes, even if no more seats are added. This means that representatives in some states like Delaware end up representing many more people than in other states like Montana.
Here’s how apportionment works and which states are overrepresented and underrepresented as a result
First, click the button below to grant each state its minimum of one House seat, as mandated by the United States Constitution.
The closer the states get to the national average (even), more equitable is its representation
|priority||condition||pop music.||seating||pop music. per seat|
|–||New York||20.2 m||0||–|
|–||North Carolina||10.5 m||0||–|
|–||South Carolina||5.1 million||0||–|
|–||New Mexico||2.1 million||0||–|
|–||West Virginia||1.8 m||0||–|
|–||New Hampshire||1.4 m||0||–|
|–||Rhode Island||1.1 million||0||–|
With the 435 House seats distributed, we see significant discrepancies in the size of the districts between the states. Montana and Rhode Island, for example, will each have about 215,000 fewer people per district than the national average. Delaware, by contrast, will be the least represented state in the union: its 990,837 residents will have only one representative. But it’s not just the smallest states – that is, the least populated – that get unfair treatment. Larger states are also underrepresented compared to some smaller states. Take California for example: Its population is 68.5 times that of Wyoming, but according to the 2020 census, California was assigned only 52 seats compared to Wyoming. This means that the average member of the California House of Representatives will represent more than 761,000 voters, while Wyoming will represent just 578,000.
Certainly, perfectly equal representation in the House cannot be achieved: The fact that each state is guaranteed at least one seat and that districts cannot cross state lines limits what is possible. But we could get much closer to fair representation if we expanded the size of the House beyond our current (and rather arbitrary) limit of 435.
One method that we could use to add more seats to the House is the small state rule, where we would divide the total US population by that of the smallest state (Wyoming). Another is the cube root law, wave observed trend in political science that the number of lower house seats in many countries is close to the Cube root of the population of that nation. And in some countries they have even more representatives like the UK, France and Germany, political scientists have found that the number is closer to the cube root of twice the country’s population (2x cube root law).
Try to implement these strategies, or any Chamber size up to 1,000 seats
As you’ve probably discovered, the more seats we add to the House, the greater the equitable representation in all 50 states. That said, there are some pretty big limitations on the number of seats we could realistically add to the camera. (Can you imagine the electoral and logistical chaos that would result from doubling the size of the House in one go?) Bottom line: every seat we add to our current limit of 435 brings us that much closer to the one-person, the spirit of a vote for which the Chamber was ultimately created.