Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

025 Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
• (Because of) the state’s population
• (Because) they have more people
• (Because) some states have more people


The fifty states of the United States have very different sizes, both in terms of (or related to) how much land there is and the population (or how many people there are). Some states are very large but have very few people; other states are very small but have many people. Even so, all fifty states need to be represented in the federal government.

What was the solution? The Founding Fathers, or the people who created the U.S. government, decided to have two parts for lawmaking. One is the Senate, where each state has two representatives known as senators, no matter how many people live there. The other is the House of Representatives, where the number of representatives that each state has is proportional to its population, meaning that states with large populations have more representatives in the House than those states with small populations.

Each state is divided into a number of districts (or areas), one for each representative that it has in the House. Each representative is elected by the people
living in his or her district. Changing where the district boundaries (or the lines between districts) are drawn on the map can change which political party has more power in a district. Redistricting, or changing the district boundaries, is called gerrymandering when it influences (or affects) the results of elections so that one political party is more likely to win. As you can see, this is a very big issue because redistricting can decide which political party has power.

Sometimes gerrymandering is used to make district boundaries match (or be the same as) where racial groups (or groups of people with the same skin color) live. If the district boundaries are drawn so that white people are the majority (the largest group) in each district, then it is more likely that only white representatives will be elected. Obviously gerrymandering is unfair, but it is very common in modern politics. Many have criticized this practice of racial gerrymandering.


in terms of – related to; measured by
* How do you like your job in terms of salary and health benefits?

population – the number of people who live in a particular area
* The world has a population of more than six billion people.

proportional – with the correct or corresponding size or amount of something
* The president said that taxes that people pay should be proportional to the amount of money they make, so that people who make a lot of money pay more taxes than do people who make very little money.

district – area; a large part or section of a bigger area
* Which school district is your high school in?

boundary – a line drawn on a map between two areas, separating them and showing where one ends and the other begins
* Fremont Street is the boundary between the Irvington and Sabin neighborhoods.

redistricting – the process of changing where one district begins and another district ends, or the process of creating new districts or removing old ones
* As more people move to the cities, redistricting will become important.

gerrymandering – the process of changing where one district begins and another district ends based on what people believe in in certain areas to influence or affect the results of an election
* He would never have been re-elected if there hadn't been so much gerrymandering in his state.

racial groups – groups of people with the same heritage, skin color, eye color, and/or facial features
* This report gives information about the buying habits of different racial groups in major cities.

majority – the bigger part of something; more than 50% of something
* In the United States, the majority of mothers have to work outside the home.

to criticize – to say something bad about something; to say something negative about something; to say that something is bad or wrong
* The professor criticized her students for not following the assignment guidelines.