facebook linkedin twitter

U.S. State Legislatures Are Disproportionately White and Male, Study Finds

July 13, 2020 by Gaspard Le Dem

WASHINGTON – The vast majority of state legislators in the U.S. are white and male, while first and second-generation immigrants tend to lack representation, according to a new report by New American Leaders, a nonprofit organization working for diversity in political leadership.

Roughly 82% of the country’s 7383 state legislators are white, and about 71% are men, the study found.  Black state legislators count for less than 10% while Latinx politicians make up a little more than 4% and Asian Pacific Islanders about 2%. 

Indigenous leaders represent a small fraction of state legislatures, with just 49 Native American politicians across the country, or less than 1%.

Moreover, only 258 state politicians — around 3.5% — are first and second-generation immigrants, a group that the report refers to as New Americans.

The report found a “concerning lack of representation” in U.S. statehouses, with only five states showing representation that matched their population’s racial diversity. 

“New Americans represent 26% of the population in the United States but hold only 3.5% of state legislative seats,” said New American Leaders President Sayu Bhojwani. “This means that over a quarter of our country is left without true representation in their state houses and senates.”

There are currently nine states — Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, and South Dakota — that have no first or second-generation state lawmakers. However, in many of those states first-generation immigrants make up more than 5% percent of the total population, according to census estimates.

The report comes as state lawmakers across the country mull new laws to address police brutality against people of color.

“The fact that in 2020 there are still nine states without any New Americans serving in their state legislative bodies shows just how deeply outdated and racist ideas about who can and should run for office are embedded in our national psyche,” said Bhojwani. “Especially in this national moment of reckoning on race, we must confront and dismantle these vestiges of white supremacy to improve representation.”

Arizona and California had the most parity when it came to immigrant representation. While roughly 8% of Arizona residents are naturalized citizens of voting age, first and second-generation immigrants make up roughly 12% of the state legislators.

In California, naturalized voters account for 21% of the population and 26.6% of the state legislature.

Meanwhile, New Jersey had the most glaring lack of diversity in its state legislature given its highly diverse population. Though nearly 18% of New Jersey residents are naturalized citizens of voting age, only a little more than 3% of its state legislators are first and second-generation immigrants.

Additionally, the study found a significant lack of representation for women in state legislatures. While more than half of the U.S. population is female, only 28.9% of state legislators are women.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has invested $50 million this year in a broad effort to flip state legislatures in November. Currently, the GOP controls 61 of the country’s 99 state chambers.

On November 3, a total of 86 state chambers will hold legislative races, with 5,876 seats up for re-election, according to the National Conference Of State Legislatures.

Research

November 24, 2021
by Dan McCue
Study Finds Significant Bipartisan Support for Corporate Social Responsibility

WASHINGTON — A new, groundbreaking study suggests not only is there strong bipartisan support for corporate efforts to address environmental,... Read More

WASHINGTON — A new, groundbreaking study suggests not only is there strong bipartisan support for corporate efforts to address environmental, social and governance challenges, but that the bipartisan appeal of these initiatives dramatically increases among Americans under the age of 45. The study, “Unlocking the Bipartisan... Read More

November 23, 2021
by Reece Nations
NYU Study Finds Twitter Warnings May Reduce Hate Speech

NEW YORK — Researchers at New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics found that issuing warnings of possible... Read More

NEW YORK — Researchers at New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics found that issuing warnings of possible suspensions resulting from the use of hate speech on Twitter reduced the ratio of tweets containing hateful language by up to 10% in the week following... Read More

November 11, 2021
by Reece Nations
UCLA Study Ties Human-Caused Climate Change to Widespread Wildfires

LOS ANGELES — Research published this week by scientists from UCLA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory explains that the main... Read More

LOS ANGELES — Research published this week by scientists from UCLA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory explains that the main cause of increasingly frequent wildfires throughout the western United States is human-made climate change. The researchers identified vapor pressure deficit as the predominant variable linked to... Read More

November 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
Schumer, Pelosi, Moderates Strike Deal to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday that Democrats have reached a deal on legislation to lower... Read More

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday that Democrats have reached a deal on legislation to lower prescription drug prices. "It's not everything we all wanted. Many of us would have wanted to go much further, but it's a big step in helping... Read More

October 13, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Gene Editing Treatment Used in Human Subjects With Rare Genetic Blindness

WASHINGTON — New data presented by researchers from Editas Medicine, a leading genome editing company, reveals that gene editing treatments... Read More

WASHINGTON — New data presented by researchers from Editas Medicine, a leading genome editing company, reveals that gene editing treatments are not only safe in humans, but may hold promise of treating a rare retinal disease that leads to blindness. “We believe these findings validate the... Read More

October 7, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Eating Within Consistent 10-Hour Window Reduces Risk of Chronic Diseases

Researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Salk Institute conducted a review of time-restricted eating that shows... Read More

Researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Salk Institute conducted a review of time-restricted eating that shows eating within an 8-10-hour window can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.  “Just like to be productive we plan our... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top