A new study of projected census figures indicates Missouri will lose one of its nine congressional seats. The change would come in the 2012 elections.

Election Data Services is a consulting company that has studied census data and political redistricting for 30 years. It has looked at projected figures and has decided Minnesota will not lose a seat, as had been anticipated, but Missouri will. Earlier projections indicated Missouri would squeak by without losing a slot in the U. S. House.   

“I think (the estimates) are overall pretty reliable. But of course on the edge, right at the margin, any little change at how well the census was done could have an impact,” said Kimball Brace, the President of Election Data Services out of Washington, D.C.

Brace says it’s been obvious for some time Missouri would be on that edge.

“The only one that is only a little bit closer is the state of New York; the second seat that they’re losing in our new study is actually holding seat number 436… They’re missing their second seat by only 29,000 people, a little bit closer than (Missouri is). But, it’s probably more likely that they’ll have a harder time accounting (in the Census) in New York than you had in the state of Missouri,” Brace said.

EDS cautions its projection is not definite.  Missouri is still considered one of 16 states on the edge of a change and could hold onto the seat if it comes up with 36,723 more people than EDS projects it will have.

“The other thing that would add on to the question mark is any military overseas. (They) are not included in our estimate numbers, but will be included by the Census Bureau when it comes out with the apportionment population at the end of the year,” Brace said.

EDS projects Missouri as one of eight states losing single seats, while New York and Ohio would lose two.  Six states are projected to gain one seat. Florida is expected to gain two seats, Texas gaining four seats.

“The numbers that we have right now are estimates put out by a national demographic and GIS company in the US that regularly looks at, analyzes and issues updated population estimates for not only states, but down at more localized levels. They’ve actually gone out and looked at housing starts and building permits and information from the IRS in terms of moves. All of those kinds of factors have been added in… So it gives us a little more information than what we had last year,” Brace said.

The final, official census figures will be announced at the end of the year. A special legislative committee is expected to start redrawing congressional district boundaries next spring.  Missouri’s congressional delegation is now 6-3 Republican. 

AUDIO: Listen to Ryan Famuliner’s interview with EDS President Kimball Brace [7 min MP3]

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]