January 17, 2017 Women in State Legislatures 2017

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1 January 17, 2017 in State Legislatures 2017 Kelly Dittmar, Ph.D. In 2017, 1832 women (1107D, 703R, 4I, 4Prg, 1WFP, 13NP) hold seats in state legislatures, comprising 24.8% of the 7383 members; 442 women (253D, 175R, 1I, 13NP) (22.4%) serve in state senates and 1390 women (854D, 528R, 3I, 4Prg, 1WFP) (25.7%) serve in state houses. 1 This is a net increase of 26 women state legislators nationwide, just barely marking a record high for the proportion of women among all state legislators in the United States, up from 24.5% at the end of However, while 27 more women are serving in state houses at the start of 2017 than served at the end of 2016, the number of women state senators dropped by one in Moreover, women remain less than one quarter of all state legislators in 2017, despite being over 50% of the population. Percentage of in State Legislatures, % 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% Source: Center for American and Politics, Rutgers University Note: Data reflects the percentage of women in state legislatures at the end of each year except for Partisan Differences in s State Legislative Representation Proportion of in Each Party Caucus by Chamber, 2017 Percent Source: Center for American and Politics, Rutgers University House Democrats House Republicans Senate Democrats Senate Republicans Men are just over one-third (35.3%) of all Democrats in state legislatures, while women are just 16.8% of all Republicans holding state legislative seats in The partisan disparity among women state legislators is not as stark in state legislatures as it is in Congress. Sixty percent of all women state legislators are Democrats, while 38% are Republicans. In 2010, the gap in partisanship among women state legislators was significantly wider; 70% of women legislators were Democrats and 30% were Republicans. 1 All data reflect numbers as of 1/13/17. For the latest updates, visit

2 These trends in partisanship do not vary significantly by chamber, though the partisan gap among women members is slightly larger among state representatives than among state senators in Partisan Gap among State Legislators, % 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% Democrats Republicans Source: Center for American and Politics, Rutgers University Note: Data reflects the proportion of all women state legislators who are Democrats and Republicans in each year. of Color in State Legislatures Four hundred and thirty-three women of color (403D, 28R, 1Prg, 1WFP) serve in state legislatures in They represent 5.9% of all state legislators, including 6% of all state representatives and 5.5% of all state senators. of color are 12.9% of all Democratic state legislators and 0.7% of all Republican state legislators. of Color as a Proportion of All State Legislators, by Party and Chamber Democrats Republicans All Legislators All Legislators 12.9% 0.7% 5.9% Representatives 12.9% 0.7% 6.0% Senators 12.6% 0.7% 5.5% Source: Center for American and Politics, Rutgers University of color represent 23.6% of all women state legislators, including 23.4% of all women state representatives and 24.4% of all women state senators. They are 36.4% of all Democratic women state legislators and 4.0% of all Republican state legislators in of Color as a Proportion of All State Legislators, by Party and Chamber Democrats Republicans All All Legislators 36.4% 4.0% 23.6% Representatives 35.5% 3.8% 23.4% Senators 39.5% 4.6% 24.4% Source: Center for American and Politics, Rutgers University Among the women of color serving in state legislative office in 2017, 264 (260D, 3R, 1WFP) identify primarily as Black, 111 (97D, 13R, 1Prg) identify primarily as Latina, 36 (28D, 8R) identify primarily as Asian/Pacific American, 13 (11D, 2R) women identify primarily as Native American and 9 (7D, 2R) identify primarily as multiracial. 2 CAWP is waiting for race/ethnicity confirmation for 15 women state legislators as of 1/13/17. CAWP relies upon officeholders selfidentification to determine race/ethnicity.

3 Numbers of of Color State Legislators, by Race/Ethnicity and Party Working Democrats Republicans Progressives Families Party Asian American/ Pacific Islander Black Latina Native American Multiracial Source: Center for American and Politics, Rutgers University There are no women of color serving in either chamber of the state legislature in four states: Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. There are no women of color serving in state houses in four states: Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. 3 There are no women of color serving in state senates in eleven states: Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Vermont. See the table below for a full listing of states representation of women of color as a percentage of all legislators and of all women legislators. s Legislative Representation by State In 2017, Vermont ranks first in the nation for its percentage of women state legislators; 40% of Vermont state legislators are women. Nevada ranks second with 39.7%. s representation in the Nevada legislature jumped by eight percentage points (more than any other state) and six spots in national rankings from 2016 to Colorado, which ranked first in the nation at the end of 2016, now ranks third at 39%, down from 42% in The proportion of women in the Arizona state legislature is just over three percentage points higher in 2017 than at the end of 2016, but the state s ranking dropped by one nationally to fourth. Illinois, the fifthranking state for women s state legislative representation in 2017, rose one spot from 2016 after seeing a 3.4 percentage point increase in women s representation. Bottom 5 States for s State Legislative Representation State Percent Mississippi 13.8% South Carolina 13.5% West Virginia 13.4% Oklahoma 12.8% Wyoming 11.1% Top 5 States for s State Legislative Representation The five states with the lowest representation of women in their state legislatures changed little between 2016 and Wyoming dropped one spot to the bottom of the list with a two percentage-point drop in women s state legislative representation, from 13.3% to 11.1%. Mississippi, which ranked 50 th in 2016, now ranks 46 th in the nation, with a slight rise in women s representation from 13.2% to 13.8%. Despite doubling the number of women in their state senate from two to four, South Carolina maintained a national ranking of 47 th,with its percentage of women dropping slightly from 14.1% to 13.5%. Oklahoma fell from 47 th to 49 th in 2017, with women just 12.8% of state legislators this year. Finally, while Alabama just barely escaped the bottom five in 2017, they swapped rankings with West Virginia, where women are now 13.4% of state legislators. Among other states, Kansas saw the largest jump in its national ranking for women in its state legislature, from 29 th in 2016 to 19 th in Nebraska jumped ten spots from 32 nd to 22 nd. California dropped ten spots in national rankings between the end of 2016 and start of 2017, from 22 nd to 32 nd, with a 3.3 percentage point drop in women s state legislative representation. By percentage points, Delaware was the state with the largest decline in women s state legislative representation between 2016 and 2017, falling to just under 20% in 2017 from 24.2% in State Percent Vermont 40.0% Nevada 39.7% Colorado 39.0% Arizona 38.9% Illinois 36.2% 3 Because Nebraska is a unicameral legislature, it is only listed among state senates with no women of color.

4 Senate House State Rank D R I* Senate D R I* House Leg. %Overall AL % AK* % AZ % AR % CA % CO % CT % DE % FL % GA % HI % ID % IL % IN* % IA % KS % KY* % LA % ME % MD % MA % MI % MN % MS % MO % MT % NE 22 Nonpartisan Unicameral % NV % NH % NJ* % NM % NY % NC % ND % OH* % OK % OR % PA % RI % SC % SD % TN* % TX % UT % VT % VA* % WA % WV % WI* % WY % TOT , ,390 5,411 1,832 7, % *I = other parties; in the Senate, 1 Independent, 13 non-partisans; in the House, 1 Working Families Party, 4 Progressives, 3 Independents.

5 Change in Percent between 2016 and 2017 Change in Rank between 2016 and 2017 Percent in State Legislature, 2017 Percent in State Legislature, State Rank Rank NV KS ME NE UT RI NM IL AZ ID MI OR WA NY GA NC MA KY* FL MS TX NH AK* AL LA NJ* PA TN* VA* CT MD SC IA ND VT HI OK IN* MN AR OH* WV SD WY WI* MO MT CO CA DE

6 State of Color All All Legislators Percent of Color (of all women) Percent of Color (of all legislators) AK % 0.0% AL % 8.6% AR % 3.0% AZ % 12.2% CA % 12.5% CO % 11.0% CT % 3.2% DE % 3.2% FL % 9.4% GA % 13.6% HI % 21.1% IA % 2.0% ID % 3.8% IL % 12.4% IN % 3.3% KS % 3.0% KY % 0.7% LA % 5.6% MA % 2.5% MD % 13.3% ME % 0.5% MI % 6.1% MN % 3.0% MO % 3.0% MS % 7.5% MT % 2.7% NC % 7.6% ND % 0.0% NE % 0.0% NH % 0.9% NJ % 16.7% NM % 16.1% NV % 14.3% NY % 12.2% OH % 6.8% OK % 2.7% OR % 4.4% PA % 4.0% RI % 4.4% SC % 4.1% SD % 0.0% TN % 6.1% TX % 12.2% UT % 5.8% VA % 7.9% VT % 1.1% WA % 4.8% WI % 3.0% WV % 1.5% WY % 1.1%

7 For More Information Find more information about the women in the 115 th Congress and keep track of the latest numbers of women in elective office at all levels at There you can also find historical data on women candidates and officeholders. Follow CAWP on Facebook (facebook.com/womenandpolitics) and Twitter for the latest news and data on women s political representation.

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