Census undercount likely cost Florida a U.S. House seat
Image via AP.

Florida got one extra seat. But should it have been two?

A new report from the U.S. Census shows Florida’s population was significantly undercounted in 2020. Underestimating Florida’s population by well over 700,000 people likely cost the state a seat in Congress for the next decade.

A post-enumeration survey released on Thursday estimated significant undercounts in six states: Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. That’s based on low self-response rates to Census surveys.

The report also figured there were overcounts in eight other states: Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Utah.

The Census Bureau has followed up its decennial population count since the 1980 Census, basing the estimates on demographic data and household information. The greatest undercounts occurred in states in the South.

In addition to omission data, analysts also looked at the number of people who may have been counted as residents of a state more than once. Florida’s rate on the latter metric wasn’t particularly notable, but the number of people believed to be omitted from the report was among the worst in the nation.

Census reapportionment in April 2021 awarded seats to states in Congress, where Florida picked up one seat. That means after the Midterm Elections, Florida’s U.S. House delegation will grow from 27 members to 28. A once-a-decade redistricting process divided Florida into 28 seats of equal population.

The Census count set an ideal population for Florida congressional districts at 769,221. That’s dividing Florida’s population exactly 28 ways.

But the undercount is very nearly that amount, which makes it likely Florida would have been awarded 29 seats in the U.S. House if no undercount occurred.

Undercounts do often take place. Census officials estimate the 2010 Census also undercounted Florida residents, but by just 0.45%. On average, the post-Census study estimates that U.S. population was likely underestimated by 0.24%.

Based on percentages, Florida’s 3.48% undercount was among the most severe in the country. Only Arkansas, where analysts believe the population was under-estimated by 5.04%, was greater.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Tom

    May 19, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    This is another crock of Adam Schiff in a Nancy Pelosi nanny sack for Chuck Schumer.

    The Biden Dum puroosefukky undercounted so as to try to save Nancy’s house majority.
    It failed as Repub. will gain the majority with a 40 to 60 new seat gain.

    To be clear, everyone knew that Florida had gained at least two seats. As a poly science professional, and student of Congress and Presidency this is scurrilous sabotage. When the Biden Commerce depart released the enumerated numbers from the census ir was clear Florida was purposefully short changed. Amazingly, the other stats in Midwest or NE were not. Scurrilous and shameful.

  • Ron Ogden

    May 19, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Overcounts in Democratic-leaning states and. . . . The Swamp is laughing all the way home. Just like in the elections of 2020, the ones who do the counting–the paid professionals with the agendas–are the ones who control the outcome.

  • tom palmer

    May 20, 2022 at 12:54 am

    The bulk of the census occurred during the incompetent Trump regime.

    • Weredoomed

      May 20, 2022 at 10:40 am

      If incompetent means I can afford gas, find baby formula, have stable supply chains, near zero inflation, no crisis at the border, no war in Europe, no brain washing kids in schools with trans ideology, not listing everything the left doesn’t like as “racist”, no corrupt first family making billions off corrupt deals in China, Ukraine, etc.. if incompetent means, no ridiculous COVID mandates or lock downs.. if incompetence means complete sentences, by god, sign me up for some incompetence.

  • oldvet50

    May 24, 2022 at 8:33 am

    As a former 2020Census worker from FL, I can assure you that FL was under-counted. Talking with residents at the many trailer parks where the Snowbirds come to live nine months out of the year, the majority fill out their census using their northern home as a permanent residence (which is illegal). Most head home in May or June and the questionnaire requires you to report on your residence as of April 1. Most are probably dual state voters too! How could you know? A blue state won’t reveal their voter rolls to a red state!

Comments are closed.


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