New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania to lose Congressional clout

By Greg Giroux and Timothy R. Homan
(c) 2010 Bloomberg News
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 12:14 PM

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will lose political influence in Congress over the next decade, as job losses in the region contributed to slower population growth, according to government data released today.

New York will have 27 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, down from 29 seats, the Census Bureau said in Washington. The agency's state-by-state headcounts for 2010 determine reapportionment of the 435 seats in the House, one of the two chambers in Congress.

The slowing pace of population growth in the Northeast is a decades-long trend spurred in part by the decline of manufacturing jobs in the region. The faster-growing South and West regions will gain additional House seats, as companies have been shifting jobs there in response to financial incentives by state and local governments and the lack of strong labor unions.

"States are willing to give huge tax benefits to companies that locate there," said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The decline in New York marks the seventh consecutive decade in which it will have lost House seats. With 27 seats for the next decade, the state will have its smallest delegation in 200 years and will dip to 40 percent below its high of 45 seats after the 1930 and 1940 reapportionments.

New Jersey will lose one representative in the House, bringing its tally to 12, based on today's 2010 Census data. That will be the lowest total for New Jersey in 100 years and will mark the second time in the past three decades it will have lost seats.

Pennsylvania will see its representation fall to 18, compared with 19 this past decade. The state's House delegation will be reduced for the ninth consecutive reapportionment. The state had 36 seats a century ago.

New York's population during the past decade grew at a 2.1 percent rate, to 19.4 million, compared with a 5.5 percent pace the previous 10 years, today's census data showed. In New Jersey, the rate of growth slowed to 4.5 percent, from 8.9 percent in the 1990s.

Pennsylvania saw its population expand at a 3.4 percent rate between 2000 and 2010 - the same rate as the previous decade.

Payrolls at manufacturers in Pennsylvania declined 35 percent during the last 10 years, according to estimates from Moody's using data from the U.S. Labor Department. During that same period the unemployment rate climbed 8.6 percent from 4.1 percent, government figures show.

The jobless rate in New Jersey this past decade increased to 9.2 percent, from 3.8 percent. Unemployment in New York in November was 8.3 percent, compared with 4.7 percent in January 2000, according to U.S. Labor Department data.

The lack of employment has dealt a blow to state and municipal budgets, resulting in job cuts for government workers.

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