Congressional Apportionment Amendment

From Academic Kids

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment to the United States Constitution was the first of twelve amendments proposed by the 1st Congress in 1789 to the state legislatures for ratification. It pertains to the division of seats in the United States House of Representatives following each decennial census.

By 1791, the legislatures of a sufficient number of states had ratified the last ten of those amendments—which became the Bill of Rights—but not the first two.

The second of the twelve amendments, which concerned Congressional compensation, was finally ratified in 1992 and became the 27th Amendment.

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment (again, the first of the twelve proposed amendments) fell just one state legislative approval shy of being ratified in the 1700s. Theoretically, because there is no deadline for its ratification, the Congressional Apportionment Amendment is still pending before the states. With 50 states presently in the Union, ratification by the legislatures of 38 states would be needed to incorporate this proposed amendment into the federal Constitution. To date, however, only twelve states have ratified it and it is unlikely that the amendment will ever be adopted—the most recent state to approve it was Kentucky in June of 1792 (Kentucky's initial month of statehood).

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment reads as follows:

Article the first...After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment seeks to make certain that seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned according to population, but given the current population of the United States, the algorithm it sets forth would now place very few restrictions on the size of the House. Were this amendment to be ratified today, it would allow anywhere between 200 and nearly 6,000 Representatives. Presently, there are 435 members of the House of Representatives and a handful of non-voting Delegates from places that do not possess statehood status.

See also


  • Congressional Research Service. (1992). Proposed amendments not ratified by the states. In The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. (Senate Document No. 1036). (Johnny H. Killian and George A. Costello, Eds.). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

External links

  • The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation is available at:
    • GPO Access ( - Official version of the document at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
    • FindLaw ('s version of the official document; incorporates 1996 and 1998 supplements into text, but does not include prefatory material included in official version.

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