Wisconsin’s census data released Monday shows a natural-low increase in the state’s population and indicates the state will retain its eight seats in the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Census Bureau released the data of all 50 states, along with the apportionment in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Based on the 2020 census, Wisconsin’s population did not change enough from the last census in 2010 to warrant an increase or decrease in its House of Representatives’ seat apportionments.
The University of Wisconsin Applied Population Laboratory — a group of research and outreach professionals in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at UW — studies census data. UW APL Demographer David Egan-Robertson said in an email statement to The Badger Herald that Wisconsin has maintained slow population growth since the 1990s.
Egan-Robertson said demographers are more interested in the components of change that make up population increases or declines. There are two broad categories of the components of change.
“One is natural increase, which refers to births minus deaths, and the other is net migration, which is the difference between in-migrants and out-migrants,” Egan-Robertson said in the statement.
The APL demonstrated changes in these two components for Wisconsin in a Tweet, which shows large drops in natural population increase and net migration from 2010.
Egan-Robertson highlighted the low-natural increase in 2010 and pointed out that the natural increase has been rapidly decreasing on a year-to-year basis.
According to the Tweet, the natural population increase in Wisconsin has dropped from 21,159 in 2010 to 9,091 in 2019, and the change in 2020 may be around 5,000 because of COVID-19 deaths.
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Egan-Robertson said Wisconsin is very likely to reach a point of natural decrease within the next few years due to having more deaths than births — which is already happening in five other states.
“When states reach this point, they are, in effect, depending completely on positive net migration to increase their populations, and sometimes their net migration can be negative too, as in West Virginia’s case,” Egan-Robertson said.
Egan-Robertson said Wisconsin’s position as the eighth seat in the apportionment ranking system fell 12 rankings from 2010 to 2020 — despite having an adequately sized population and previous population growth.