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The Birth States of U.S. Representatives (113th Congress)

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Eight U.S. House delegations boast an all homegrown membership, led by Iowa and Mississippi; five delegations come in at 25 percent or less including Virginia and Minnesota

iowaseal10.pngThe convening of the 113th Congress this month saw new state delegations to the House of Representatives descend upon D.C. reflecting reapportionment and the population changes that have taken place over the last decade.

However, when looking at the birth states of those currently serving in the nation's lower legislative chamber, there is an ever greater shift in numbers.

In fact, three states are not even represented at all.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that five-eighths of U.S. Representatives currently serving in the House represent districts in their birth state - 270 of 433 non-vacant seats, or 62.4 percent - with three-eighths born elsewhere (163, 37.6 percent).

Members of eight U.S. House delegations were all born in the states from which they currently serve.

Iowa and Mississippi have the largest such delegations at four members each.

In Iowa, Democrat Bruce Braley was born in Grinnell with Democrat Dave Loebsack in Sioux City, Republican Tom Latham in Hampton, and GOPer Steve King in Storm Lake.

Mississippi Republican Alan Nunnelee was born in Tupelo, with Democrat Bennie Thompson in Bolton, Republican Gregg Harper in Jackson, and GOPer Steven Palazzo in Gulfport.

West Virginia (David McKinley, Shelley Moore Capito, Nick Rahall) and Rhode Island (David Cicilline, Jim Langevin) also boast all homegrown delegations along with the single district states of Delaware (John Carney), North Dakota (Kevin Cramer), South Dakota (Kristi Noem), and Wyoming (Cynthia Lummis).

Moderate to heavily populated states follow next on the leader board with Massachusetts at 88.9 percent of its members born in the state (eight of nine), followed by Wisconsin at 87.5 percent (seven of eight), Michigan at 85.7 percent (12 of 14), South Carolina at 83.3 percent (five of six, with one seat vacant), Ohio at 81.3 percent (13 of 16), and New York at 77.8 percent (21 of 27).

The only member of the Massachusetts delegation not born in the Bay State is Democrat Niki Tsongas (California).

Republican Jim Sensenbrenner is the lone member of the Wisconsin delegation not born in the Badger State (Illinois).

On the other side of the spectrum, there are three states with at-large members born outside of the states they represent: Alaska's Don Young (California), Montana's Steve Daines (California), and Vermont's Peter Welch (Massachusetts).

Meanwhile, the more heavily populated states of Virginia and Minnesota fail to eclipse the 25 percent mark.

In Virginia, just two of its 11 U.S. Representatives were born in the Old Dominion State (18.2 percent): Republicans Randy Forbes from the 4th CD and Majority Leader Eric Cantor from the 7th CD.

Two of its representatives were each born in D.C. (Robert Wittman and Robert Scott), Massachusetts (Bob Goodlatte, Gerry Connolly), New York (Robert Hurt, Jim Moran), and Pennsylvania (Morgan Griffith, Frank Wolf), with one from Florida (Scott Rigell).

The only U.S. Representatives from Minnesota born in the Gopher State are Democrats Betty McCollum of the 4th CD and Rick Nolan of the 8th CD, or 25 percent of the eight-member delegation.

The remaining representatives were born in Nebraska (Tim Walz), Pennsylvania (John Kline), California (Erik Paulsen), Michigan (Keith Ellison), Iowa (Michele Bachmann), and North Dakota (Collin Peterson).

The other eight delegations with less than half of its U.S. Representatives born in the state they represent are Maryland at 37.5 percent, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington at 40.0 percent, Colorado at 42.9 percent, Arizona and Florida at 44.4 percent, and Illinois at 47.1 percent.

Percentage of U.S. House Members Representing Districts In Their Birth State

State
Seats
Birth State
Elsewhere
% Birth State
Iowa
4
4
0
100.0
Mississippi
4
4
0
100.0
West Virginia
3
3
0
100.0
Rhode Island
2
2
0
100.0
Delaware
1
1
0
100.0
North Dakota
1
1
0
100.0
South Dakota
1
1
0
100.0
Wyoming
1
1
0
100.0
Massachusetts
9
8
1
88.9
Wisconsin
8
7
1
87.5
Michigan
14
12
2
85.7
South Carolina
6*
5
1
83.3
Ohio
16
13
3
81.3
New York
27
21
6
77.8
Texas
36
27
9
75.0
Missouri
8
6
2
75.0
Kansas
4
3
1
75.0
Utah
4
3
1
75.0
Pennsylvania
18
13
5
72.2
Alabama
7
5
2
71.4
Tennessee
9
6
3
66.7
Kentucky
6
4
2
66.7
Louisiana
6
4
2
66.7
Nebraska
3
2
1
66.7
New Mexico
3
2
1
66.7
California
53
33
20
62.3
Connecticut
5
3
2
60.0
New Jersey
12
7
5
58.3
Indiana
9
5
4
55.6
North Carolina
13
7
6
53.8
Georgia
14
7
7
50.0
Arkansas
4
2
2
50.0
Nevada
4
2
2
50.0
Hawaii
2
1
1
50.0
Idaho
2
1
1
50.0
Maine
2
1
1
50.0
New Hampshire
2
1
1
50.0
Illinois
17*
8
9
47.1
Florida
27
12
15
44.4
Arizona
9
4
5
44.4
Colorado
7
3
4
42.9
Washington
10
4
6
40.0
Oklahoma
5
2
3
40.0
Oregon
5
2
3
40.0
Maryland
8
3
5
37.5
Minnesota
8
2
6
25.0
Virginia
11
2
9
18.2
Alaska
1
0
1
0.0
Montana
1
0
1
0.0
Vermont
1
0
1
0.0
Total
433
270
163
62.4
* Denotes a state with a vacancy. Data compiled by Smart Politics from information culled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Despite the increased opportunities of mobility of the population over the decades, it is the younger U.S. Representatives serving in the 113th Congress who are most likely to represent a district in the state of their birth.

Nearly 70 percent of the House members born in the 1970s and 1980s serve in districts of their birth state (37 of 53 representatives, or 69.8 percent).

That percentage decreases for each subsequent decade with 64.6 percent of those born in the 1960s (64 of 99), 61.4 percent of those born in the 1950s (94 of 153), 59.6 percent of those born in the 1940s (62 of 104), and 54.2 percent of those born in the 1920s and 1930s (13 of 24).

U.S. House Members Representing Districts in Their Birth State by Decade of Birth

Decade
Total
Birth State
Elsewhere
% Birth State
1920s-1930s
24
13
11
54.2
1940s
104
62
42
59.6
1950s
153
94
59
61.4
1960s
99
64
35
64.6
1970s-1980s
53
37
16
69.8
Total
433
270
163
62.4
Data compiled by Smart Politics from information culled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

And which states 'export' the most Representatives serving in the 113th Congress?

Although in a few years it will drop to fourth as the most populous state in the nation - with Florida passing it by - New York by far has exported the largest number of U.S. Representatives who serve in other states.

A total of 17 men and women were born in New York but currently serve districts outside of the Empire State - including notables such as former Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Florida firebrand Alan Grayson (FL-09), and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).

No other state comes close - with Illinois next with 10, then California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania with nine, Texas with seven, Massachusetts with six, and Florida, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia with five.

By contrast, 11 states did not give birth to any U.S. House members who currently serve elsewhere: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

When tallying up the number of representatives born in each state (homegrown and exported), the U.S. House delegation is still led by California, but with just 42 seats.

California is followed by New York at 38, Texas at 34, Pennsylvania at 22, and Michigan at 21.

Illinois (18), Florida (17), Ohio (17), Massachusetts (14), and North Carolina (11) round out the Top 10.

No U.S. House members in the 113th Congress were born in Alaska, Montana, or Vermont.

Total Number of U.S. Representatives by Birth State, 2013

State
Home Grown
Exports
Total
California
33
9
42
New York
21
17
38
Texas
27
7
34
Pennsylvania
13
9
22
Michigan
12
9
21
Illinois
8
10
18
Florida
12
5
17
Ohio
13
4
17
Massachusetts
8
6
14
North Carolina
7
4
11
Missouri
6
4
10
Alabama
5
4
9
Georgia
7
2
9
Wisconsin
7
2
9
Indiana
5
3
8
Iowa
4
4
8
New Jersey
7
1
8
South Carolina
5
3
8
Tennessee
6
2
8
Louisiana
4
3
7
Minnesota
2
5
7
Colorado
3
3
6
Connecticut
3
3
6
Kentucky
4
2
6
Maryland
3
3
6
Mississippi
4
2
6
West Virginia
3
3
6
Arizona
4
1
5
Washington
4
1
5
Arkansas
2
2
4
Kansas
3
1
4
New Mexico
2
2
4
Utah
3
1
4
Virginia
2
2
4
Nebraska
2
1
3
Oregon
2
1
3
Wyoming
1
2
3
Nevada
2
0
2
North Dakota
1
1
2
Oklahoma
2
0
2
Rhode Island
2
0
2
South Dakota
1
1
2
Delaware
1
0
1
Hawaii
1
0
1
Idaho
1
0
1
Maine
1
0
1
New Hampshire
1
0
1
Alaska
0
0
0
Montana
0
0
0
Vermont
0
0
0
U.S. Territories
0
4
4
Foreign nations
0
14
14
Data compiled by Smart Politics from information culled from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

There were no significant differences between political parties with Democrats slightly more likely to represent a district in their birth state than Republicans.

A total of 130 of the 200 Democrats in the House were born in the state from which they currently serve (65.0 percent) compared to 140 of 233 Republicans (60.1 percent).

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