The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives


In this report, we have presented the case for expanding the House of Representatives. The chamber’s lack of growth over the last ninety years has had serious and harmful consequences for both representatives and the voting public. As districts have tripled in constituency size, the House has remained locked at 435. One result has been that the connection between constituents and their congresspeople has attenuated, leading to worse representation and bolstering the feeling among voters that their voice does not matter.

Further, some citizens periodically lose representation in Washington, even when their state grows in population. Every apportionment means reconstituting House districts and increasing distances between constituents and their representatives in the People’s House.

Our modeling shows that the expansion of the House need not be a partisan enterprise. Neither party would stand to gain significantly from expansion. The biggest beneficiaries would be the American people, who would benefit from improved representation, as well as the representatives themselves, who would be able to share some of their already massive workload with their new colleagues.

When policy-makers, scholars, and activists think about how American democratic institutions might be reformed, the size of the House has long been overlooked. We hope this report helps correct this oversight. Expanding the House would be a small but consequential step in improving the quality of American representative democracy and in reinventing our political institutions for the twenty-first century.

House of Representatives