NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee will keep its nine U.S. House seats after its population grew nearly 9% from 2010 to 2020.
According to initial numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday, Tennessee had 6.9 million residents in the latest once-a-decade population count. That’s up from the 6.3 million reported in 2010.
Republicans hold seven of the state’s nine congressional districts, which is consistent with the GOP’s dominance through most of the state’s political offices. The two Democrats who hold House seats in the state are anchored in Memphis and Nashville, areas with the highest population.
With no impending loss of its congressional district, focus will now turn to how the Volunteer State’s GOP-dominated General Assembly will draw new legislative and congressional districts across the state.
Currently, Republicans have supermajorities in both the state House and Senate. Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Bill Lee has veto power over the finalized plan, but he’s not expected to put up many objections.
In 2010, the congressional redistricting plan stopped short of splitting traditionally Democratic Nashville into several districts. It’s unknown if that will still happen this time around.
The Tennessee Legislature approved the new congressional and legislative plans in January 2012. The Senate seat plan was later challenged in state court, with plaintiffs arguing it unnecessarily split up too many counties — particularly around Memphis, which has the state’s largest Black population. However, the plan was eventually upheld.
Monday’s new census numbers for state population counts reveal how many residents each state has gained or lost over the past decade
The 435 seats in the House of Representatives are divided among those state population numbers. While Tennessee didn’t lose or gain congressional seats, other states will get more because of high growth. Likewise, that means fewer seats for states that lost population or didn’t grow as quickly.