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How Many Representatives are There in Congress

A common question in Civics or U.S. Government studies is "how many representatives are there in Congress?" While most people can guess, did you know the total number of representatives changes every so often?

How is the Number of Representatives Calculated?

How many Representatives are there in Congress

According to Article 1 of the Constitution, how many representatives there are in Congress is determined by each state's population. A census is taken every 10 years to accurately apportion a state's representatives. The most basic calculation is there is to be one representative for every 30,000 residents. If there are not 30,000 people living in a state, that state will still get at least one representative.

How Many Representatives are there in Congress?

The lower body of Congress, which consists of all the representatives, contains two types of members. The first type is voting members, which totals 435. This number was set in 1911. The other type is nonvoting members, which total six as of this writing. The nonvoting members include one representative each from the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgins Islands and American Samoa. In the Northern Mariana Islands, a delegate was elected who started in January of 2009. Puerto Rico elects a "Resident Commissioner," and has the same roles as representatives on nonvoting members.

All representatives serve terms of two years while the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico serves four.

Qualifications Needed: House of Representatives

To become a member of Congress, a representative must adhere to three qualifications:

  1. A representative must be at least 25 years old
  2. A representative must have been a citizen of the U.S. for the previous seven years before the year they are seeking election.
  3. Lastly, a representative must live in the state they represent (or live in the state when election occurs.)

Other Information