(CNN) – A new study predicts that when the dust settles from the 2010 Census, eight southern and western states will gain congressional seats largely at the expense of states in the Midwest and Northeast.
According to the unofficial study, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington would each gain an additional seat in Congress, while Florida and Texas would gain two and four seats, respectively.
States predicted to lose a single congressional seat are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, while New York and Ohio are each projected to lose two seats.
Every ten years, upon the conclusion of the national census, the number of congressional seats in each state is recalculated based on population changes since the previous census. The process is known as "reapportionment."
It is the first step in the decennial redistricting process in which states redraw the boundaries of their congressional districts.
In addition to determining the number of congressional seats in the states, reapportionment will also affect the number of electoral votes each state will have at stake in the 2012 presidential election. States that gain or lose congressional seats also will gain or lose the same number of votes in the Electoral College, the body that ultimately elects the President of the United States.
Of the eight states predicted to gain electoral votes, five were carried by Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, while three were carried by President Obama.
Eight states Obama won in 2008 are projected to lose electoral votes, compared to two states carried by McCain.
Although more so-called "red" states than "blue" states would gain electoral votes under this model, Obama still would have won the Electoral College vote by a comfortable margin if these numbers had been in effect in 2008.
The study was conducted by Election Data Services, a non-partisan political consulting firm that compiles and analyzes data on voting, elections, and redistricting. The projections are based on recent population estimates but have no role in the official reapportionment process.