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Census stunner: No 10th congressional seat for Arizona

Arizona will not gain a 10th congressional seat that was widely expected — and, for many politicians, highly anticipated — the U.S. Census Bureau revealed on Monday when it announced reapportionment figures.

Six states will gain extra seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Texas will gain two, while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will each gain one seat.

Arizona will have nine congressional districts, as it's had for the past decade.

This marks the first time in 70 years that Arizona will not gain a new congressional seat. Arizona had one House seat from statehood in 1912 through the 1930s, gaining a second seat from the 1940 census. It didn't gain a seat from the 1950 census, but got a third district from the 1960 census and gained one new seat in every subsequent census through 2010, except the 2000 census, which gave Arizona two new seats.

The news stunned Arizona's political community, where it had been widely assumed that the state would have 10 congressional seats for the next decade. Arizona's population jumped from about 6.4 million in the 2010 census to 7,158,923 in 2020, according to apportionment data from the Census Bureau.

Last year, the census effort was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Trump administration shut down census work earlier than expected. The Trump administration also took steps that critics said was intended to scare minority communities — particularly Latinos — away from participating for fear that they or their families could face deportation.

An undercount could affect not just Arizona's congressional representation, but also its federal funding: Arizona estimates that each resident who is not counted represents an estimated loss of $887 in federal funding.

Redistricting in Arizona is done by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which votes created in 2000 to divide the state up into congressional and legislative districts. With census data in hand, the commission — which consists of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent chairperson — will soon be able to get to work redrawing the state's political boundaries.

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This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Congressional districts in the state of Arizona, reflecting district boundaries current to the 113th United States Congress.


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