Search Penny Hill Press

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Puerto Rican Statehood: Effects on House Apportionment

Royce Crocker
Specialist in American National Government

For years, the people of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have been involved in discussions relating to changing the political status of Puerto Rico from a commonwealth of the United States to either the 51st state or an independent nation, or maintaining the status quo as a commonwealth.

In the 111
th Congress, H.R. 2499, introduced by Representative Pedro Pierluisi, would have established procedures to determine Puerto Rico’s political status. It would have authorized a two-stage plebiscite in Puerto Rico to reconsider the status issue. H.R. 2499 was similar to H.R. 900 as introduced in the 110th Congress. A possible outcome of this process is Puerto Rican statehood.

Proposals to change Puerto Rico’s governmental relationship with the United States from a commonwealth to some other model raise many political, social, and economic issues. This report focuses exclusively on what impact adding a new state that is more populous than 22 of the existing 50 states would have on representation in the House of Representatives.

Statehood for Puerto Rico would likely cause Congress to explore whether the current limit of 435 seats in the House of Representatives should be changed. If Puerto Rico had been a state when the 2010 census was taken, it would have been entitled to five Representatives based on its 2010 census population of 3.7 million residents.

If the House were faced with the addition of five new Representatives, it could accommodate them either by expanding the size of the House or adhering to the current 435-seat statutory limit, which would reduce the number of Representatives in other states.

Date of Report: March 16, 2011
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R41113
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.