According to numbers released this week, it appears to be a razor-thin line between retaining one or adding a second Montanan to the U.S. Congress.

The Associated Press and Billings Gazette reported this week that officials are saying Montana could add a second U.S. House seat if population estimates made public on Tuesday hold. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2020 Population Estimate said the state’s population is 1,080,577.

There is current precedent in awarding a second seat to a state with that population. Montana's 1,080,577 is about 23,000 more people than there are in Rhode Island, which is the least populated state with two congressional districts. Officials say the first Census Bureau numbers are expected to be released in January but until then the state won’t officially know if it could gain a seat.

While you have to go back a few years, it's not ancient history when Montana did have two U.S. House of Representatives. It was 1993 that Montana was downsized to one "at-large" representative. And if we return to two, Montana would become the first state to regain a House seat after being reduced to that at-large status.

Anybody out there think Montana is actually going to shrink in population in the coming years?

 

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