Florida’s congressional delegation may grow by two, to 29, in 2020 based on new Census numbers and population projections by the Manassas, Va.-based political consulting firm Election Data Services.

The U.S. Census estimates Florida’s population is now 20.98 million, with the state growing at a 1.6 percent clip — tied with Arizona for the fifth-largest percentage population increase between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017.

Only Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Washington expanded at larger percentages, as the nation’s estimated population stands at 325.7 million, a 2.3 million increase.

The addition of 327,811 Floridians over the past year, and a projection by Election Data Services for the state to hit 22.23 million in 2020, accounts for the likely expansion of the state’s congressional delegation.

Election Data Services projects Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Oregon would each gain a seat, while Texas could grab three, after the 2020 Census.

Meanwhile, to keep the U.S. House at 435 members, Alabama, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia would each drop a seat. Illinois could lose one or two, having to battle Minnesota for the other seat.

Illinois was one of eight states that lost population in the latest Census estimate, dropping by 33,703 people, the most of any state.

Election Data Services President Kimball Brace cautioned the projections are “very preliminary.”

“The change in administration and the lack of a Census director could have a profound impact on how well the 2020 Census is conducted, and therefore the counts that are available for apportionment,” Brace noted in a release. “Having worked with Census data and estimates since the 1970s, it is important to remember that major events like (Hurricane) Katrina and the 2008 recession each changed population growth patterns, and that impacted and changed the next apportionment.”

California, 39.5 million, and Texas, 28.3 million, remain the only states ahead of Florida in terms of population. California grew by 240,177, the third-largest increase. Texas topped the growth list in adding 399,734 people.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

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