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Apportionment results ‘a major surprise,’ SMSU professor says

MARSHALL — The first data released from the 2020 census — and the news that Minnesota will keep its current number of seats in Congress — carried some surprises, David Sturrock said.

“Keeping all eight seats is a major surprise, since the two analysts who set expectations for journalists and political observers had projected a drop from eight seats to seven,” said Sturrock, professor of political science at Southwest Minnesota State University. Minnesota had previously lost seats after the 1930 and 1960 census, he said.

On Monday, the U.S. Census Bureau released apportionment data, the population numbers used to determine each state’s number of seats in Congress. Full results of the 2020 census will be delivered to U.S. states by Sept. 30, the Census Bureau said. The Minnesota House and Senate will each use the information to draft new maps for congressional districts.

“Since the last five congressional redistrictings have been settled by the courts, it seems likely this will happen again in early 2022,” Sturrock said.

Previous judicial panels have tried to avoid making major changes in district boundaries, Sturrock said. That could mean that southwest Minnesota will still be part of Congressional District 1, currently represented by Jim Hagedorn, and CD 7, represented by Michelle Fishbach.

“However, today’s news reminds us that surprises are always possible,” Sturrock said.

Minnesota’s high turnout for the 2020 census played an important part in the apportionment decision, Sturrock said. State Demographer Susan Brower said more than 75% of Minnesota households responded to the census without follow-up from a census taker, compared with 67% of households nationally.

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