Constituency population and representation in the U.S. House

Publication Date


Document Type



The U.S. House of Representatives has remained frozen at 435 members for almost a century. House members on average represent more than 640,000 citizens, which is expected to continue to rise if the body remains constituted of close to 435 members. One assertion put forward by critics of this rise is that it leads to a less intimate relationship between the representative and the constituent. Yet there has not been empirical substantiation that the increase in constituency population size has interfered with the representational linkage in the House. This study employs a series of multivariate models using survey data from the American National Election Study to test whether citizens in more heavily populated House districts have less access to their representatives and are less likely to approve of their performance. Findings indicate that increases in House district population size reduce the accessibility and approval of U.S. House members.

Original Citation

Frederick B. (2008). Constituency population and representation in the U.S. House. American Politics Research, 36(3), 358-381. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532673X07309740