Examine your State Government's Demographics

What do you know about your state's representative government? One way to learn more about your government
is to look at the population characteristics or demographics of the people in the House and/or Senate.
Become an expert by researching the facts.

Are the population sub groups in your state represented in the elected government?

Is it proportional to the percentages that are present in the population at large?

Research Helpful Hint: The U.S. Constitution prescribes that every ten years the federal government will perform a census.
They post all this information on the Internet. Ascertain the demographics of the state legislature through their web site.

1. Gather the Data

Hint - Use a spreadsheet to simplify the task and to avoid redundant calculations.

Use a matrix to organize your data

What is the total population of your state?

How many citizens are men? How many are women?

What percentage of your state's population is male?

What percentage is female?

How many men serve in your combined legislature?

What percentage of the legislature is male? (Help with percentages)

How many legislators are women?

What percentage do they represent?

Age is another data set - What is the mean age of the people living in your state?

What is the mean age of your legislature?

Complete this investigation for two other subgroups.

Create a chart showing your findings.

 

2. Draw some comparisons with the federal government. Select two of the factors you considered regarding your state.
Are subgroups more proportionally represented in the U.S. House? How about the U.S. Senate?

 

3. Now that you have assembled all this information, share it.

Make a website or presentation about your findings. If you believe there is uneven representation,
what would you suggest be done about it?

Create a pamphlet to advocate for a change or the status quo. Make sure it is rich in the facts you have uncovered.

Or discuss your findings in a class wiki. See Wiki Wiki teaching.

 

4. Conundrums:

What factors can you identify that have lead to these numbers?

If there is an election coming - Check out the candidates. Are the demographics of the government likely to change?

 

blue checkmarkExtra:

Explore the demographics regarding the appointed heads of state government or federal government.
Are your findings the same?

If not, what do you believe are the factors that explain the difference?

 

IDEA - Women in Politics | Women, Power and Politics - PBS program and resources

UN Development for Women

By The Numbers: Women in National Parliaments

Ranking Country % in House % in Senate
1 Rwanda 48.8 34.6
2 Sweden 47.3 0
3 Finland 43 0
70 United States 16.3 16
137 Papua New Guinea 0.9 0
138 Yemen 0.3 1.8
139 Kyrgyzstan 0 0
Anna M. Tinsley, Politics Girl Power, McClatchy Newspapers, June 27, 2007

 

By The Numbers: States' Female Leadership

Governors - 9
Lieutenant governors - 11
Attorneys General - 4
Secretaries of state - 12
State Treasurers and CFO - 11
State Auditors - 6
State comptrollers - 4
Chief state education officials - 8

Anna M. Tinsley, Politics Girl Power, McClatchy Newspapers, June 27, 2007

Center for Women in Government & Civil Society - Glass Ceiling in Gubernatorial Appointments, 1997 - 2007

How to deal with a falling population | Head to Head: Debating Affirmative Action

Pennsylvania Projects Citizen Rights Who Represents You? Pennsylvania Charters PA County Government
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Honor a Suffragist Look into your Community's History Evaluate government website Consumer Protection Project Reforming Gov. Persuasive Essay
Life Expectancy in PA State of the Union Fact Check Exploring Population Density Who gets fines? PA Founding Fathers

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Updated 9/2008, posted 2/2007 by Cynthia J. O'Hora, released to the public domain

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