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Which States Have the Most Proportional Female Representation in Congress?

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Women are still proportionally underrepresented in 48 states, with 19 states and 22 percent of the nation's population without a female U.S. Senator or Representative

Smart Politics recently observed that while the number of Republican women in the U.S. House has been on the decline in recent years (now at 17 members - the lowest level since 2000), that caucus' conservative ideological voting record is at an all time high.

However, although the total number of women in the U.S. House and Senate, whether Republicans or Democrats, is also at an all time high, the percentage of women serving in Congress is still far below their percentage in the population at large.

A Smart Politics analysis finds women are proportionally underrepresented in 48 states across the country, including 19 states that currently have no women serving in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House, tallying more than 22 percent of the nation's population.

These 19 states reflect a mixture of red, blue, and purple states, as well as states from across the Northeastern, Southern, Midwestern, and Western regions of the country: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

Women are proportionally 'overrepresented' in just one state - Maine. The Pine Tree State is represented by two Republican women in the U.S. Senate (Olympia Snowe (pictured) and Susan Collins) as well as Democrat Chellie Pingree in one of the state's two congressional districts, or 75 percent of its Capitol Hill delegation.

Women are represented equal to their population in one other state - New Hampshire - with Democratic women holding 50 percent of its posts in Congress: one of the two U.S. Senate seats (Jeanne Shaheen) and one of the two U.S. House seats (Carol Sea-Porter in the state's 1st CD).

More than half of the country, 27 states, has never been represented by a woman in the U.S. Senate: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Six states have never had a female serve in the U.S. House: Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Vermont.

Four states have never had a woman serve in either chamber: Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, and Vermont.

After Maine and New Hampshire, Nevada has the third largest percentage of its D.C. delegation represented by women, at 40 percent (2 representatives), with California the fourth largest (38.2 percent; 2 senators, 19 representatives).

Alaska, South Dakota, and Wyoming are tied for fifth at 33.3 percent - with each of these sparsely populated states served by one female in its three member D.C. delegation.

Minnesota (30.0 percent), Washington (27.3 percent), Hawaii (25.0 percent), and Ohio (25.0 percent) round out the Top 10.

Female Congressional Delegations by State

Rank
State
Senate
House
Total
%
1
Maine
2
1
3
75.0
2
New Hampshire
1
1
2
50.0
3
Nevada
0
2
2
40.0
4
California
2
19
21
38.2
5
Alaska
1
0
1
33.3
5
South Dakota
0
1
1
33.3
5
Wyoming
0
1
1
33.3
8
Minnesota
1
2
3
30.0
9
Washington
2
1
3
27.3
10
Hawaii
0
1
1
25.0
10
Ohio
0
5
5
25.0
12
New York
1
6
7
22.6
13
Colorado
0
2
2
22.2
13
Florida
0
6
6
22.2
15
Arizona
0
2
2
20.0
15
Maryland
1
1
2
20.0
15
North Carolina
1
2
3
20.0
15
West Virginia
0
1
1
20.0
15
Wisconsin
0
2
2
20.0
20
Illinois
0
4
4
19.0
21
Missouri
1
1
2
18.2
22
Michigan
1
2
3
17.6
23
Arkansas
1
0
1
16.7
23
Kansas
0
1
1
16.7
25
Connecticut
0
1
1
14.3
25
Oklahoma
0
1
1
14.3
27
Texas
1
3
4
11.8
28
Louisiana
1
0
1
11.1
29
Pennsylvania
0
2
2
9.5
30
Tennessee
0
1
1
9.1
31
Massachusetts
0
1
1
8.3
32
Alabama
0
0
0
0.0
32
Delaware
0
0
0
0.0
32
Georgia
0
0
0
0.0
32
Idaho
0
0
0
0.0
32
Indiana
0
0
0
0.0
32
Iowa
0
0
0
0.0
32
Kentucky
0
0
0
0.0
32
Mississippi
0
0
0
0.0
32
Montana
0
0
0
0.0
32
Nebraska
0
0
0
0.0
32
New Jersey
0
0
0
0.0
32
New Mexico
0
0
0
0.0
32
North Dakota
0
0
0
0.0
32
Oregon
0
0
0
0.0
32
Rhode Island
0
0
0
0.0
32
South Carolina
0
0
0
0.0
32
Utah
0
0
0
0.0
32
Vermont
0
0
0
0.0
32
Virginia
0
0
0
0.0
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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1 Comment


  • Am I correct in assuming that if Carol Shea Porter and Anne Kuster both win their congressional races that New Hampshire will become the first state to ever have a 100% female congressional delegation?

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

    A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

    Political Crumbs

    Small Club in St. Paul

    Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


    Respect Your Elders?

    With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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