Apportionment Act of 1911

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Apportionment Act of 1911
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act For the apportionment of Representatives in Congress among the several States under the Thirteenth Census.
Nicknames Apportionment Act of 1911,
Public Law 62-5
Enacted by the 62nd United States Congress
Effective March 4, 1913
Public law 62-5
Statutes at Large 37 Stat. 13
Acts amended Apportionment Act of 1901
Titles amended 2
U.S.C. sections amended 2 USC §2a
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 2983
  • Passed the House on  
  • Passed the Senate on August 8, 1911 
  • Signed into law by President William Howard Taft on
Major amendments
Reapportionment Act of 1929
United States Supreme Court cases
Wood v. Broom (1932)
Connor v. Johnson (1966)
United States Dept. of Commerce v. Montana (1992)

The Apportionment Act of 1911 (Pub.L. 62–5, 37 Stat. 13) was an apportionment bill passed by the United States Congress on August 8, 1911. The law set the number of members of the United States House of Representatives at 435, effective with the 63rd Congress on March 4, 1913.[1] This number included a provision for the addition of one seat each for Arizona and New Mexico when they became states.

Previous apportionment[edit]

The requirement for allocating United States Representatives is found in Article One, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. Following each ten-year census, Congress is required to create a law that establishes the process of apportionment for the next ten years. After the first census, Congress began to pass legislation to dictate the method of allotting U.S. Representatives to the states based on population (see Apportionment Act of 1792).[2] The Jefferson method of apportionment had been in use after the first census of 1790 through the 1830 census, and required fractional remainders to be discarded when calculating each state's total number of U.S. Representatives.[3][4][5][6] Daniel Webster proposed the Webster method, which was adopted for the 1840 census and allocated one representative to states with a fractional remainder greater than 0.5.[7] Prior to the Apportionment Act of 1911, the Hamilton/Vinton (largest remainder) method had been used for this purpose since 1850.[8][9][10][11][12][13] In addition to setting the number of U.S. Representatives at 435, the Apportionment Act of 1911 returned to the Webster method of apportionment of U.S. Representatives. Adopted in 1868, Section Two of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had already removed the three-fifths method of counting slaves, and instead required "counting the whole number of all persons in each State."


Subsequent apportionment[edit]

For the first and only time, Congress failed to pass an apportionment act after the 1920 census. This left the allocations of the Act of 1911 in place until the 1930 census. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 established a method for reallocating seats among the states, given population shifts and the maximum of 435 representatives.[14] The Apportionment Act of 1941 made the apportionment process self-executing after each decennial census.[15] This lifted Congress's responsibility to pass an apportionment act for each census, and ensured that the events surrounding the 1920 census would not happen again. The number of U.S. Representatives increased temporarily to 437 when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as states during the 86th Congress (seating one member from each of those states without changing the apportionment of the other seats). After the 1960 census and the 1962 election, that number went back to 435.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 3 Annals of Cong. 539 (1792)
  3. ^ Act of Jan. 14, 1802, 2 Stat. 128
  4. ^ Act of Dec. 21, 1811, 2 Stat. 669
  5. ^ Act of Mar. 7, 1822, 3 Stat. 651
  6. ^ Act of May 22, 1832, 4 Stat. 516
  7. ^ Act of 1842, 5 Stat. 491
  8. ^ Act of May 23, 1850, 9 Stat. 432-433
  9. ^ Act of 1862, 12 Stat. 572
  10. ^ Act of 1872, 17 Stat. 28
  11. ^ Act of 1882, 22 Stat. 5
  12. ^ Act of 1891
  13. ^ Act of 1901, 31 Stat. 733
  14. ^ Act of June 18, 1929, 46 Stat. 21
  15. ^ Act of Nov. 15, 1941, 55 Stat. 761-762
  16. ^ 72 Stat. 345
  17. ^ 73 Stat. 8

External links[edit]