For nearly 75 years, members of the northern counties of California and the southern counties of Oregon have attempted to organize the secession from both and the formation of a new state, Jefferson.

Residents of the area feel underrepresented by the central governments of their states, to the extent that the actions of the state are contrary to their desires.

So, if they were able to successfully secede, how significantly would the Federal representation be affected?


1 Answer 1


The rules of the senate are simple: two seats per state. So the new state would get two seats on the senate.

The rules of congressional appointment by state are:

  • There are 435 seats
  • Each state gets as many seats as its approximate share of the total population of the United States
  • But each state always gets at least one seat

There are currently about 322 million people in the United States, which means each state gets one seat for about 740,000 people. The proposed region of the new state of Jefferson houses 457,859 people - not enough to warrant a second seat beyond their guaranteed one.

When Alaska and Hawaii were added to the union, their two new seats were simply added for the rest of the legislative period to avoid having to kick any elected congressmen out, so it's likely that the same solution would be adopted in this case. After that, the seats would need to be recalculated based on the population numbers. Considering that the majority of inhabitants of the proposed state currently live in Oregon, it is likely that Oregon would lose one seat (from 5 down to 4). But depending on how the population numbers develop in the next years, the result could also be a loss for a different state.

  • Great answer. It might be more comprehensive if you mentioned that the federal constitution prevents states from being made from the territory of existing states (Article 4, section 3.1). May 14, 2016 at 23:57
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    @indigochild Read the rest of that clause: "without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress." May 14, 2016 at 23:58
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    @indigochild in fact West Virginia was carved out of Virginia (the situation was quite complicated as Virginia joined the Confederation and WV sided with the Union).
    – SJuan76
    May 15, 2016 at 0:07
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    @DrunkCynic - It's that "consent of the states" part that makes it so unlikely, IMO. Why would any state government want to give up land?
    – Bobson
    May 15, 2016 at 4:39
  • @Bobson It's happened though. In 1819, the legislature of Massachusetts consented to the secession of the District of Maine into a separate state. The state gained it independence in 1820 after the US Congress voted to admit it as a state as part of the Missouri compromise.
    – A. R.
    Sep 14, 2021 at 20:50

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