The primary purpose of is to conduct research on, and increase awareness of, the degradation of representative democracy in the United States resulting from Congress’ longstanding practice of limiting the number of congressional districts despite the continuing growth in the nation’s population.

The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of Congressional districts never exceed 50 to 60 thousand. Currently, the average population size of the districts is nearly 700,000 and, consequently, the principle of proportionally equitable representation has been abandoned.

The historical trend relative to our federal Representation is illustrated in the charts below. The vertical bar chart illustrates that the total number of congressional districts was increased every ten years from 1790 to 1910 (with a single exception). These increases were a direct result of the growth in total population as was intended by the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Note that the last increase in representation occurred after the 1910 census when the total number of congressional districts was increased to 435. It has remained that size ever since (except for a four-year period when it was temporarily increased to 437 after the admission of Alaska and Hawaii).
Chart: Number of Representatives and Total Population

Overlaid on the chart above is a line graph illustrating the total population of the Unites States (in millions). Dividing the total population by the number of Representatives returns the average population per congressional district, as illustrated in the chart below.

As shown above, in 1804 each Representative represented approximately 40 thousand people. Today, the average population of congressional districts is nearly 700 thousand and growing.

In order to restore the House to the citizenry, our total number of federal Representatives will have to be increased substantially. Achieving this goal is essential to extending the ground of public confidence in our government and ensuring the beneficent ends of its institution.

For additional information, please read the Questions & Answers section below.

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