What the gov’t should look like

If the demographics of the U.S Government really represented the demographics of the U.S. Population*:

Supreme Court:

  • 5 women, 4 men
  • at least one per racial group**
    • White, non-Hispanic
    • Black/African-American
    • Hispanic/Latin@
    • Asian
    • Native American/Alaskan Native
    • Native Hawai’ian/Pacific Islander
    • Other***
  • One justice would have a disability
  • At least once justice would be LGB, and preferably another be T/I

Current gender demographics: 1 woman, 8 men
Current racial demographics: 1 African-American (a man), 8 white non-Hispanic

House of Representatives:
(Assuming 437 representatives, to amend the omission of D.C.****)

  • 248 non-Hispanic whites (124 women, 124 men)
  • 66 Latin@/Hispanic (33 women, 33 men)
  • 62 Black/African-American (31 women, 31 men)
  • 22 Asian (11 women, 11 men)
  • 31 “Other”*** (16 women, 15 men)
  • 4 Native American/Alaskan Native (2 women, 2 men)
  • 4 Native Hawai’ian / Pacific Islander (2 women, 2 men)

Current gender demographics: 75 women, 360 men.
Current racial demographics: 27 Hispanics, 5 Asian Americans, and one Native American; 402 white non-Hispanic.

U.S. Senate:
(Assuming, again, 102 senators, likewise including D.C.****)

  • 57 non-Hispanic whites (29 women, 28 men)
  • 15 Latin@/Hispanic (8 women, 7 men)
  • 14 Black/African-American (7 women, 7 men)
  • 5 Asian (3 women, 2 men)
  • 7 “Other”*** (4 women, 3 men)
  • 2 Native American/Alaskan Native (1 woman, 1 man)
  • 2 Native Hawai’ian/Pacific Islander (1 woman, 1 man)

Current gender demographics: 17 women, 83 men. Highest number of women to date.
Current racial demographics: 2 Hispanics, 1 Japanese-American, 1 Native Hawai’ian and 1 African-American (all men). 95 non-Hispanic whites.

Now, if you’re really into your number crunching and fact-checking, you’ll probably see that my numbers for white representatives (in whatever branch) are just a bit low, in comparison to the current population estimates. I started with ensuring representation for the smallest groups (Native American/Alaskan Native and Hawai’ian/Pacific Islander), rounding percentages up to the nearest percentage point, and taking those points away from the largest group, non-Hispanic whites. This is especially fair considering the historical over-representation of whites.

I also erred on the side of women for each group with an odd number of percentage points to divide, as women have also been underrepresented, especially women of color.

Thing is, this doesn’t even get anywhere near making redress for the centuries of non-/underrepresentation that women and people of color have endured in this country during its relatively short history.

As you can see from the current numbers, we have a long way to go before even reaching equal representation, let alone redress. Of course, by that time, non-Hispanic whites will no longer be a majority but a plurality, if that; maybe we’ll have a government that actually *looks* like the rest of the nation does by 2050.


* U.S. Census estimates for 2007, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States, with regards to race and gender. I haven’t figured out how to account for sexuality/orientation/gender identity yet, as they are 1) complicated and 2) not all accounted for by the U.S. Census.
**As defined by the U.S. Census, which is problematic at best.
*** This is a census category. No idea what groups this includes.
**** These proportions would change even more were one to include all U.S Territories in representation. I haven’t done, but it could be accomplished.