The Constitution has this clause in it:

The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;

If the population of a state fell below 30,000, how would they be represented in the House?

  • 12
    That's what the second clause means: "each State shall have at Least one Representative"
    – divibisan
    Apr 28, 2021 at 23:34
  • Honestly I am not sure that the 30,000 number is even valid in this day and age as when it was written there was no fixed size for congress but in 1929 the number of representatives was fixed and it is unlikely we will ever see a state with that few people in it.
    – Joe W
    Apr 29, 2021 at 1:31
  • 1
    @jamesqf I think some of JoeW's point is that even if, say, American Samoa, were granted statehood, it's still got 54+ thousand people. You'd have to chop Samoa into two states to get below that 30,000 population line. Apr 29, 2021 at 13:09
  • 2
    @BruceWayne: Well, if they really wanted to, the states could ratify this monstrosity without Congress's involvement (as previously happened with the 27th Amendment). In practice, however, the last minute change of the word "less" to "more" would render it just as ineffective as the existing text of the Constitution. If they had not made that change, however, then it would have the practical effect of ballooning the House to a much larger number of members.
    – Kevin
    Apr 29, 2021 at 18:17
  • 1
    Note that at the time of the first census in 1790, the least-populated state (Delaware) had 59 094 residents. So this issue didn't come up.
    – dan04
    Apr 30, 2021 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


As the second part of that clause says, every state must have at least one representative. So if a state had fewer than 30,000 residents, it would still get a single representative.

Based on the 2010 census, the average US House district has ~710,000 residents (that will presumably increase a bit once the 2020 numbers are finalized). The population of Wyoming (the least populous state) in 2010 was ~548,000. Wyoming still has a single representative.

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