Unequal Representation


Why There Are So Few Working Class State Lawmakers

State legislatures represent all Americans, but less than 2 percent of lawmakers come from the working classes. The professions of state legislators shapes how they vote, and when working people aren’t represented in the state house, their voices aren’t heard.

Johnboy Palmer billboard
Courtesy Johnboy Palmer
The California State Capitol
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Fewer Than 2% of US State Lawmakers Belong to the Working Class, Leaving Business Owners to Shape Public Policy

Running and serving in the state legislature is expensive, and working class candidates face barriers of time and money.

By Oliver Staley

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Even in States Where Legislators Earn More, Economic Diversity Remains a Challenge

Experts say working class people remain scant in state legislatures because campaigning has gotten more expensive, and serving in positions with term limits can be a gamble.

By Courtney Vinopal

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Texans are bearing the cost of keeping the working class out of the statehouse

The Texas state legislature killed a bill to expand Medicaid, another consequence of the absence of working-class elected officials in the statehouse.

By Quartz

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A third of Americans have working class jobs. Only 1% of state lawmakers do

Women, people of color, and the working class are underrepresented in America’s state legislatures.

By Quartz

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