The U.S. Census Bureau found that Idaho is the fastest growing state in the nation, and if that trend continues, that could mean some big political gains for the Gem State.
A study from Election Data Services found Idaho is on track to have a third seat in the U.S. House of Representatives if people keep moving in at the same rate.
"I would imagine that we'll see probably a third seat for Idaho certainly by 2030," said Kim Brace, president of Election Data Services.
This all based off the most recent census data. It shows currently, Idaho does not have a large enough population to gain a third seat in the House. Election Data Services found the state is about 118,000 people away from that gain. But, if Idaho continues to grow at its current pace, by 2020 the Gem State would only be about 55,000 people away from gaining another seat in Congress.
Each year Election Data Services takes findings from the Census Bureau to see how congressional seats are changing in different states. The most recent data shows Idaho was the fastest growing state in the nation from 2016 to 2017. In that time, Idaho's population increased by 2.2 percent bringing the state's population to 1.7 million. That's about 37,000 more people living in the Gem State.
There's a limited number of seats in the U.S. House and other states are closer to gaining seats. But with more growth in the Gem State, Brace said Idaho can move up the ladder closer to another seat.
"There's only 435 seats to hand out, but you're only 11 seats away from that in that 55,000 mark,” he said. “It's getting closer for the potential that you might have a third seat."
The most recent census data shows states in the South and in the West continue leading in population growth. The nation's population is more than 323 million and in 2017 nearly 24 percent of the population lived in the West.
"What we've seen is people moving South and West and as a result the congressional delegations are increasing in the West and in the South and decreasing in the East and upper Midwest."
This is all projected information and can change at any time. One example Brace gives is if there was some type of event like a natural disaster. In those situations, people tend to leave those states. He specifically pointed out Louisiana and said after Hurricane Katrina there was a decline in the state's population and they ended up losing a House seat.