Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Isn't It Time To Increase The Number Of U.S. House Reps ?

The size of the United States House of Representatives is set by law (passed by Congress and signed by the President). It gained its current size of 435 members in 1911 -- when the Apportionment Act of 1911 was passed. At that time, each member represented an average of 193,283 people. But as the population grew, so did the average size of a congressional district -- reaching 747,184 in 2017.

But that average size is not equally distributed among the states. Rhode Island has the lowest number of people represented by a House district with 529,820, while Montana has the highest at 1,050,493.

With nearly four times the number of people in an average House district, isn't it time to increase the size of the House of Representatives? Have our districts become so large that the representatives are no longer accountable to their districts?

I believe the size of the House should be increased -- substantially. In fact, I would support a doubling of the House districts to 870. That's probably not going to happen, but there have been some proposals to increase the size of the House. The most reasonable seems to be to limit the size of a district to the population of the least populous state. That would increase the number of House districts to about 547.

What do you think? Are House districts too large? Should the size of the House be increased?

The charts above are from the Pew Research Center.

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