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First Look at Census 2020: NC Gains a 14th Seat in the House of Representatives with North Carolina’s Population Now at 10,453,948

The U.S. Census Bureau just released the first look at the results from the 2020 Census. The U.S. population is now 331,449,281. The nation grew by 22,703,743 or 7.4% since 2010. This represents the second slowest decade of growth on record, just after 1930 to 1940 when the nation grew by 7.3%.

Utah (+18.4%) was the fastest-growing state, followed by Idaho (17.3%) and Texas (15.9%). Three states–West Virginia (-3.2%), Mississippi (-0.2%), Illinois (-0.1%)–and Puerto Rico (-11.8%) lost population.

What’s North Carolina’s population? 

North Carolina’s official population in the 2020 Census was 10,453,948. This is an increase of 903,905 or 9.5% since 2010. 

North Carolina had the 6th largest increase among the states and was the 15th fastest-growing state.

Is this what we were expecting? 

We expected a population somewhere between 10,550,000 and 10,580,000, based on estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and population projections from the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management. The official census count is 100,000 fewer individuals than we expected.

Are there parts of the state losing population? 

Population estimates suggest that 43 of the state’s 100 counties may have lost population over the decade. We won’t know which counties lost population—and how many people—until the next release of 2020 Census data in August/September 2021. With the state population coming in lower than expected, we could see counties with larger than expected losses, slower than expected growth, or both.

What does this mean for North Carolina? 

North Carolina gained a 14th seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Do we know how the state districts will be redrawn? 

Not yet. The data released today is just state population totals. During redistricting, congressional districts are drawn to have the same population across districts. This means that each of North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts will need to have a population of 746,711. The data to redraw district lines will be released by September 30, 2021. 

While we don’t yet know the 2020 Census counts for our existing districts, our projections from last year suggest that District 1 is the only district that may have a 2020 population below the ideal population size of the new districts. This means that District 1 will need to expand its current boundaries to meet the ideal population threshold. All other NC districts would need to shrink; District 2 in Wake and District 12 in Mecklenburg have the largest projected populations and would need to shrink the most. 

Which states gained seats in the House? 

Six states gained seats in the House: 

  • Texas (+2) 
  • Colorado 
  • Florida 
  • Montana 
  • North Carolina 
  • Oregon 

Which states lost seats in the House? 

Seven states lost a seat in the House, including California, which lost a seat for the first time ever: 

  • California 
  • Illinois 
  • Michigan 
  • New York 
  • Ohio 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • West Virginia 

According to the Bureau, New York narrowly lost its seat: had it had just 89 more people, it would have retained its House seat. This is the smallest apportionment margin observed between 1940 and 2020.


By Rebecca Tippett / From Carolina Demography ….. Located within the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, we use population-level data and other available research to provide context and perspective to people working to shape North Carolina’s future. Collectively, we have decades of experience making population estimates and forecasts, analyzing population-level and economic trends, and communicating that data back out into the world in a way that’s easy to understand and act upon. Our work informs decision-making, evaluation, and policy across North Carolina, where we serve organizations and people in all 100 counties.