Friday, November 14, 2008

More full timers, less attorneys

Those are a couple of trends over the past 40 years describing state legislators across the country. Here are some interesting statistics from NCSL.

*It used to be that attorneys made up the largest occupational group in state legislatures. That number has dropped from 25% to 15%. Full time legislators are now the largest occupational group at 16.4% and retired legislators make up another large sized group at 12%.

The Thicket explains why the number of full time legislators has increased:

The single largest reason for the steady increase in state legislators who serve without other sources of earned income is the increasing professionalization and time demands of legislative life that has occurred over the past quarter century. Legislative sessions have grown longer, and other time commitments to session-related activities have increased. The number of interim committee assignments has increased significantly. As the U.S. population has grown larger while the number of legislators has remained static, legislative districts have grown larger and more diverse, generating more demand for constituent service.

The bottom line is that as legislative service demand more time, lawmakers are finding it more difficult to pursue a career outside the legislature.

*The average age of a state legislator is 56. That number has increased over the years due to the increase of retired legislators. 10% are age 70 or older, 38% are 60 or older, 61% are between age 30 and 60, and only 1% are under age 30.

*As expected, the number of women serving has increased over the years and now stands at 22.6%. About 60% of women legislators are Democrats. For the first time in history, the New Hampshire Senate will have more women than men. However, the North Carolina Senate is now 100% male.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think there needs to be a limit as to how long they can be in office. 2 terms and move on! There are too many good people out there who have a lot to offer, but because of name recognition the old ones stay in forever!!!!!