Currently the average Constituency of a member of the US House is in excess of 650,000. This number is over 200 times greater than the minimum provided for in Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution.

I understand the technicality of it (The Apportionment Act of 1911 and 1941) but what was the reasoning provided for limiting the size to just 435? Why not allow for the proportional representation in the house, as it appears through my reading, to a proportional representation that would allow reasonable access of the citizens to their representative and limit the power of any one representative?

Please note I am not asking should it stay this way or is this a good idea. I am simply seeking to understand the reasoning for the original limit and the if possible the reason why it has never been increased

  • ten thousand representatives might be a little unwieldy.
    – user9389
    Nov 21, 2016 at 19:06
  • @notstoreboughtdirt - maybe but would 2000 be anymore unwieldy than 435? Nov 21, 2016 at 19:33
  • the number of House seats has been increased to 435 (+ a couple of non-voting reps or "delegates" from DC and maybe the territories) from earlier values. i can understand why they would want to limit the expansion of the House. sometimes the number settled on becomes an accident of history. Jun 25, 2017 at 0:42

1 Answer 1



Fear from the rural and agricultural states that urbanization would push even more power towards the urban centers during a period of industrial expansion and migration.

Summarized by Rep. Emmanuel Celler of New York as:

“The issue and the struggle underlying reapportionment is between the large States with large cities on the one side and the rural and agricultural States on the other side. That thread of controversy runs through all the political struggles evidenced in this House. That thread runs through immigration, prohibition, income tax, tariff. It is the city versus the country. The issue grows more and more menacing.

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