Jefferson method

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Jefferson's method was used to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives between 1792 and 1840.

Procedure[edit | edit source]

Choose a divisor D. A state with population N (or a political party with N seats) is entitled to floor(N/D) seats. If the number of seats allocated equals the size of the legislative body, then use the apportionment just calculated. Otherwise, choose a new value for D and try again.

Example[edit | edit source]

In 1790, the U.S. had 15 states. For the purpose of allocating seats in the House of Representatives, the state populations were as follows:

StatePopulation
Virginia630 560
Massachusetts475 327
Pennsylvania432 879
North Carolina353 523
New York331 589
Maryland278 514
Connecticut236 841
South Carolina206 236
New Jersey179 570
New Hampshire141 822
Vermont85 533
Georgia70 835
Kentucky68 705
Rhode Island68 446
Delaware55 540
Total3 615 920

Suppose that there were to be 60 seats in the House.

If a divisor of 55 000 is used, the resulting apportionment is

State Quotas Seats District size Rel. rep.
Virginia 11.46 11 57 324 1.0513
Massachusetts 8.64 8 59 416 1.0143
Pennsylvania 7.87 7 61 840 0.9745
North Carolina 6.43 6 58 920 1.0228
New York 6.03 6 55 265 1.0905
Maryland 5.06 5 55 703 1.0819
Connecticut 4.31 4 59 210 1.0178
South Carolina 3.75 3 68 745 0.8766
New Jersey 3.26 3 59 857 1.0068
New Hampshire 2.58 2 70 911 0.8499
Vermont 1.56 1 85 533 0.7046
Georgia 1.29 1 70 835 0.8508
Kentucky 1.25 1 68 705 0.8772
Rhode Island 1.24 1 68 446 0.8805
Delaware 1.01 1 55 540 1.0851
Total 65.74 60