Based on the 2020 Census numbers, Ohio is set to lose one of its 16 congressional seats for at least the next 10 years starting in 2023.
This loss is part of a bigger trend, however. Ohio used to have more than 20 House representatives half a century ago. In every Census apportionment since, Ohio has lost at least one seat. But Ohio isn’t shrinking; in fact, our population slightly grew by the low-single digits in percentage, based on the previous Census.
Ultimately, this demonstrates that Ohio’s growth was stagnant over the past decade, and other states like Texas, Florida and Utah grew substantially, cutting out a bigger piece of the 435 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ohio losing a seat also adds a unique dynamic to the redistricting process this year, which already has some new rules added to the process, which were voted in by statewide referendum several years ago. This seat loss begs the question: how will this play into which congressional seat gets eliminated as district borders are redrawn?
The big picture question from this news is this: how can we reverse this trend of stagnant population growth in Ohio? Our answer is by promoting public policy that makes Ohio a better state to conduct business in. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2021 State Business Tax Climate Index, Ohio ranks 39th in the country for business-friendliness on taxes. According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States, Ohio ranked 35th.
We have a lot of work to do in the next decade to spur economic growth and incentivize businesses to grow in Ohio and create jobs to attract more people to our workforce. If we do this meaningfully and effectively, we may prevent our congressional delegation from shrinking again for a seventh consecutive time in 2031 – or better yet, we may start gaining seats again.