New Jersey’s population grew by 4.5 percent in the past decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released the results of the 2010 census yesterday. Despite that growth, the Garden State will still lose one seat in the U.S. Congress. The country as a whole gained 9.7 percent in population, climbing to 308,745,538. New Jersey’s population as of April 1 was 8,791,894.
Every decade, the United States reapportions the representatives to the U.S. Congress to attempt to mirror the distribution of the population. Since 1913, the number of Congressional representatives has been set at 435. As of 2012, the average congressional district will represent 710,967 citizens. New Jersey’s representatives will have an average of 733,958 constituents. (Currently, each New Jersey district serves 648,027 persons, while the average district has 647,000 constituents.) New Jersey is not alone in losing representatives: New York will shed two congressman; Pennsylvania will also lose one. Texas will gain four and Florida will gain two.
The actual work in redrawing districts will not commence until at least February, when municipal data is released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That information is necessary in order to redraw both the U.S. congressional districts as well as the state legislative districts. The independent state Electoral Commission is required to finish reapportionment by April, in order to meet deadlines for the state primary elections.