Under the Dome

Will the next census give North Carolina another congressional seat?

The latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau keep North Carolina on track to gain another congressional seat after the 2020 census, but a Virginia-based consulting firm that specializes in analyzing census and political data says one is probably all the state will gain.

Election Data Services says that based on current population trends, 10 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will shift to fast-growing states from those that are growing more slowly or losing population.

Texas will be the big winner, with three or four new seats, with Florida set to gain two seats and North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and perhaps Montana each gaining one. Most of the losers are expected to be in the Northeast and Midwest, with Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia each losing a congressional seat and Illinois losing one or two.

Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services, cautions that the projections are preliminary and subject to change, noting that events like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2008 recession changed population growth patterns and affected apportionment of congressional seats. The election of Donald Trump could be such an event, Brace says.

“The change in administration could have a profound impact on population change and growth in this nation,” he said.

On July 1, an estimated 10,146,788 people lived in North Carolina, according to estimates the census bureau released Tuesday. The state’s population has grown by more than 600,000, or 6.4 percent, since the last census in 2010.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling