How Many People Does Your Representative Represent?

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This is another example of how to use my Excel VBA for Apportionment system.  My question is how many residents of a state does each member of the House represent?  The range is from Delaware (1 representative, 990,837 people per seat) to Montana (2 representatives, 542,703.5 people per seat).  The U.S. average is 761,168.81. Interestingly, the state closest to the national average ic California (52 representatives, 761,091.48 people per seat).

Where does your state fall in this range?  Here’s the graph:

Population per Representative How Many People Does Your Representative Represent?

(click for larger image)

The U.S. average is included as a reference point.

This disparity is caused by two factors:

  1. The Constitution guarantees each state one seat in the House. Delaware, South Dakota, and North Dakota have a single representative.  These states are first, fourth, and twelfth on the list.
  2. The number of representatives musts be an integer.  For humane reasons, fractional representatives are not allowed.  Montana, lowest people per seat in the country, did that by  gaining one seat in the 2020 census. That increased its representation from 1 to 2. Despite a population slightly over one million, dividing by two lowered the population per seat to 542,703.20.  Rhode Island is second lowest and also has a population just over a million.

You don’t need the apportionment software to do these calculations.  Click here to download a simple Excel workbook with the data and calculations.

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.