Rhode Island’s teeny-tiny little congressional districts

If you want to understand why Rhode Island is likely to be reduced to one big congressional district after the 2020 Census, look no further than FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver’s list of the most and least populous districts in the nation.

Congressman David Cicilline’s 1st District was the second-smallest in the country by population as of 2009, and Jim Langevin’s 2nd District was right behind at third-smallest, according to Silver. Only Louisiana’s 2nd District, which lost a huge number of residents after Hurricane Katrina, was smaller.

Rhode Island’s 1st District had 516,796 residents and Rhode Island’s 2nd had 536,413; the average district had about 700,000. Silver’s analysis used data from 2009, prior to the new U.S. Census.

“Rhode Island may finally have reached the point where it will be reduced from two seats to one; if it holds on now, it will be even more vulnerable in 2020,” he wrote, before the new Census showed Rhode Island had won a reprieve. “Democrats hold both seats now, and neither is typically competitive, so they would endure the loss.”

(map: U.S. Interior Department)

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