Author: Nicole Foy, Idaho Statesman
Once again, Idaho was the fastest-growing state in the country last year. While that growth has brought many changes, it may not be enough to earn Idahoans an extra voice in the nation’s capital.
Idaho grew 2.1% in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — far ahead of Nevada, Arizona and Utah, who all grew 1.7%. From July 2018 to July 2019, Idaho added 36,529 people. The majority of those people were part of the well-documented influx of Californians, but Idaho was also one of only eight states to increase in the number of births.
Despite the past three years at the top of the list, Idaho wasn’t even among the top five fastest-growing states in the past decade. Utah, Texas, Colorado, Florida and Nevada took those spots based on the percentage change in population — each roughly 14% to 15% since 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The future of Idaho’s representation in Congress depends on how fast the state grows. While every state gets two senators — Idaho’s are Republicans Jim Risch and Mike Crapo — the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned according to the population recorded in the most recent decennial census.
Idaho has only two representatives: Republicans Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson. Adding a new member definitely would be popular with them, though.
“When you consider the representation in neighboring states (12 in Washington, 7 in Oregon, and 55 in California), it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have another voice representing Idaho in Washington, D.C.,” Fulcher said.
“Idaho is growing at a rapid pace, and it would be great to see Idaho gain a representative and California lose one!” Simpson said.
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