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About Congressional Districts

What are Congressional Districts?

Congressional districts are the 435 areas from which people are elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. After the apportionment of congressional seats among the states based on decennial census population counts, each state with multiple seats is responsible for establishing congressional districts for the purpose of electing representatives. Each congressional district is to be as equal in population to all other congressional districts in a state as practicable. The boundaries and numbers shown for the congressional districts are those specified in the state laws and/or court orders establishing the districts within each state.

Congressional districts for the 108th through 112th sessions were established by the states based on the result of the 2000 Census. Congressional districts for the 113th session were established by the states based on the result of the 2010 Census. Boundaries are effective until January of odd number years (for example, January 2015, January 2017, etc.), unless a state initiative or court ordered redistricting requires a change. All states established new congressional districts in 2011-2012, with the exception of the seven single member states.

How did the Census Bureau acquire the 113th Congressional District boundaries?

For the states that have more than one representative, the Census Bureau sent a letter to each secretary of state and each 2010 Redistricting Data Program state liaison requesting a copy of the state laws and/or applicable court order(s) for each state. Additionally, the states were asked to furnish their newly established congressional district boundaries and numbers by means of geographic equivalency files. States submitted equivalency files since most redistricting was based on whole census blocks. Kentucky was the only state where congressional district boundaries split some 2010 Census tabulation blocks. For further information on these blocks, please see the user-note at the bottom of the tables for this state.

The Census Bureau entered this information into its geographic database and produced tabulation block equivalency files that depicted the newly defined congressional district boundaries. Each state liaison was furnished with a file and was requested to submit corrections and certify the boundaries.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Geography | (301) 763-1128 |  Last Revised: March 29, 2013