Legislatures: Just the Facts

State Legislatures, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Legislatures: Just the Facts


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There are 7,382 elected members serving in our nation's 50 state legislatures. The number of legislators serving in each state varies dramatically, from New Hampshire's 400-seat House of Representatives to Alaska's 20-member Senate. On a national basis, partisan composition of the state legislatures is fairly even among Republicans and Democrats. After the November election in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, Republicans hold 3,314 seats while Democrats hold 3,988.

The number of women serving in legislatures has increased substantially over the years to 23 percent today.

The 2000 census revealed that the percentage of Americans reporting Hispanic heritage was roughly equal to the percentage of African-Americans at about 12.5 percent each. In state legislatures, however, only about 8 percent of legislators are African-American and about 3 percent are Latino.

Lawyers are still the largest occupational group in legislatures but they are an increasingly smaller percentage. Only about 15 percent of legislators are attorneys, down considerably from the mid-1970s when one-quarter of legislators were.

The average age of a state legislator is 53 and has declined slightly in recent years with the advent of term limits.

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2007 POST-ELECTION PARTISAN COMPOSITION OF STATE LEGISLATURES

                           SENATE
                 Total                 Indep
State            Seats    Dem    Rep   Other   Vacant

Alabama           35      23     12      0       0
Alaska            20       9     11      0       0
Arizona           30      13     17      0       0
Arkansas          35      27      8      0       0
California        40      25     15      0       0
Colorado          35      20     15      0       0
Connecticut       36      24     12      0       0
Delaware          21      13      8      0       0
Florida           40      14     26      0       0
Georgia           56      22     34      0       0
Hawaii            25      21      4      0       0
Idaho             35       7     28      0       0
Illinois          59      37     22      0       0
Indiana           50      17     33      0       0
Iowa              50      30     20      0       0
Kansas            40      10     30      0       0
Kentucky          38      16     21      1       0
Louisiana         39      24     15      0       0
Maine             35      18     17      0       0
Maryland          47      33     14      0       0
Massachusetts     40      34      5      0       1
Michigan          38      17     21      0       0
Minnesota         67      44     23      0       0
Mississippi       52      28     24      0       0
Missouri          34      14     20      0       0
Montana           50      26     24      0       0
Nebraska          49       *      *     49
Nevada            21      10     11      0       0
New Hampshire     24      14     10      0       0
New Jersey        40      23     17      0       0
New Mexico        42      24     18      0       0
New York          62      29     33      0       0
North Carolina    50      31     19      0       0
North Dakota      47      21     26      0       0
Ohio              33      12     21      0       0
Oklahoma          48      24     24      0       0
Oregon            30      17     11      1       1
Pennsylvania      50      21     29      0       0
Rhode Island      38      33      5      0       0
South Carolina    46      19     27      0       0
South Dakota      35      15     20      0       0
Tennessee         33      16     16      1       0
Texas             31      11     20      0       0
Utah              29       8     21      0       0
Vermont           30      23      7      0       0
Virginia          40      21     19      0       0
Washington        49      32     17      0       0
West Virginia     34      23     11      0       0
Wisconsin         33      18     15      0       0
Wyoming           30       7     23      0       0
TOTALS:          1,971   1,018   899    53       1

                           HOUSE
                 Total                   Indep
State            Seats   Dem     Rep     Other   Vacant

Alabama           105    61      43        0       1
Alaska            40     17      23        0       0
Arizona           60     27      33        0       0
Arkansas          100    75      25        0       0
California        80     47      32        0       1
Colorado          65     39      26        0       0
Connecticut       151    107     44        0       0
Delaware          41     19      22        0       0
Florida           120    42      78        0       0
Georgia           180    73      107       0       0
Hawaii            51     43      8         0       0
Idaho             70     19      51        0       0
Illinois          118    67      51        0       0
Indiana           100    51      49        0       0
Iowa              100    53      47        0       0
Kansas            125    47      78        0       0
Kentucky          100    63      37        0       0
Louisiana         105    53      50        2       0
Maine             151    90      59        2       0
Maryland          141    104     37        0       0
Massachusetts     160    140     19        0       1
Michigan          110    58      52        0       0
Minnesota         134    85      48        1       0
Mississippi       122    75      47        0       0
Missouri          163    71      92        0       0
Montana           100    49      50        1       0
Nebraska
Nevada            42     27      15        0       0
New Hampshire     400    239     158       1       2
New Jersey        80     48      32        0       0
New Mexico        70     41      28        0       1
New York          150    108     42        0       0
North Carolina    120    68      52        0       0
North Dakota      94     33      61        0       0
Ohio              99     46      53        0       0
Oklahoma          101    44      57        0       0
Oregon            60     31      29        0       0
Pennsylvania      203    102     101       0       0
Rhode Island      75     60      13        0       2
South Carolina    124    51      73        0       0
South Dakota      70     20      50        0       0
Tennessee         99     53      46        0       0
Texas             150    69      80        0       1
Utah              75     20      55        0       0
Vermont           150    93      49        8       0
Virginia          100    44      54        2       0
Washington        98     62      36        0       0
West Virginia     100    72      28        0       0
Wisconsin         99     47      52        0       0
Wyoming           60     17      43        0       0
TOTALS:          5,411   2,970   2,415    17       9

Source: NCSL, November 26, 2007. … 

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