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Reaching Full Representation — State Rankings

Oregon is the only state legislature in the U.S. with full representation of moms with young kids. Alabama is the only state with no mothers of young children serving in its state legislature. Only 7 states have even half the number of mamas that are needed for full representation, and 23 states have less than a quarter. 

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

90

16

17.78%

Oregon

needs to elect

0

more moms with young kids.

Oregon

#1

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

63

7

11.11%

Nevada

needs to elect

4

more moms with young kids.

Nevada

#2

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

100

11

11.00%

Colorado

needs to elect

7

more moms with young kids.

Colorado

#3

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

120

13

10.83%

California

needs to elect

8

more moms with young kids.

California

#4

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

147

15

10.20%

Washington

needs to elect

11

more moms with young kids.

Washington

#5

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

188

19

10.11%

Maryland

needs to elect

14

more moms with young kids.

Maryland

#6

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

150

15

10.00%

Iowa

needs to elect

12

more moms with young kids.

Iowa

#7

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

180

18

10.00%

Vermont

needs to elect

14

more moms with young kids.

Vermont

#7

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

177

15

8.47%

Illinois

needs to elect

17

more moms with young kids.

Illinois

#9

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

112

9

8.04%

New Mexico

needs to elect

11

more moms with young kids.

New Mexico

#10

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

120

9

7.50%

New Jersey

needs to elect

12

more moms with young kids.

New Jersey

#11

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

201

14

6.97%

Minnesota

needs to elect

22

more moms with young kids.

Minnesota

#12

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

104

7

6.73%

Utah

needs to elect

12

more moms with young kids.

Utah

#13

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

60

4

6.67%

Alaska

needs to elect

7

more moms with young kids.

Alaska

#14

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

90

6

6.67%

Arizona

needs to elect

10

more moms with young kids.

Arizona

#14

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

105

7

6.67%

Idaho

needs to elect

12

more moms with young kids.

Idaho

#14

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

105

7

6.67%

South Dakota

needs to elect

12

more moms with young kids.

South Dakota

#14

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

76

5

6.58%

Hawaii

needs to elect

9

more moms with young kids.

Hawaii

#18

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

213

14

6.57%

New York

needs to elect

24

more moms with young kids.

New York

#19

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

62

4

6.45%

Delaware

needs to elect

7

more moms with young kids.

Delaware

#20

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

140

9

6.43%

Virginia

needs to elect

16

more moms with young kids.

Virginia

#21

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

49

3

6.12%

Nebraska

needs to elect

6

more moms with young kids.

Nebraska

#22

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

148

9

6.08%

Michigan

needs to elect

17

more moms with young kids.

Michigan

#23

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

160

9

5.63%

Florida

needs to elect

19

more moms with young kids.

Florida

#24

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

424

23

5.42%

New Hampshire

needs to elect

52

more moms with young kids.

New Hampshire

#25

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

187

10

5.35%

Connecticut

needs to elect

23

more moms with young kids.

Connecticut

#26

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

135

7

5.19%

Arkansas

needs to elect

17

more moms with young kids.

Arkansas

#27

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

186

9

4.84%

Maine

needs to elect

24

more moms with young kids.

Maine

#28

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

113

5

4.42%

Rhode Island

needs to elect

15

more moms with young kids.

Rhode Island

#29

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

197

8

4.06%

Missouri

needs to elect

27

more moms with young kids.

Missouri

#30

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

149

6

4.03%

Oklahoma

needs to elect

21

more moms with young kids.

Oklahoma

#31

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

200

8

4.00%

Massachusetts

needs to elect

28

more moms with young kids.

Massachusetts

#32

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

236

9

3.81%

Georgia

needs to elect

33

more moms with young kids.

Georgia

#33

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

132

5

3.79%

Ohio

needs to elect

18

more moms with young kids.

Ohio

#34

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

132

5

3.79%

Wisconsin

needs to elect

18

more moms with young kids.

Wisconsin

#34

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

170

6

3.53%

North Carolina

needs to elect

24

more moms with young kids.

North Carolina

#36

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

181

6

3.31%

Texas

needs to elect

26

more moms with young kids.

Texas

#37

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

253

8

3.16%

Pennsylvania

needs to elect

37

more moms with young kids.

Pennsylvania

#38

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

174

5

2.87%

Mississippi

needs to elect

26

more moms with young kids.

Mississippi

#39

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

141

4

2.84%

North Dakota

needs to elect

21

more moms with young kids.

North Dakota

#40

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

165

4

2.42%

Kansas

needs to elect

25

more moms with young kids.

Kansas

#41

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

170

4

2.35%

South Carolina

needs to elect

26

more moms with young kids.

South Carolina

#42

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

138

3

2.17%

Kentucky

needs to elect

22

more moms with young kids.

Kentucky

#43

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

150

3

2.00%

Montana

needs to elect

24

more moms with young kids.

Montana

#44

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

134

2

1.49%

West Virginia

needs to elect

22

more moms with young kids.

West Virginia

#45

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

144

2

1.39%

Louisiana

needs to elect

24

more moms with young kids.

Louisiana

#46

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

90

1

1.11%

Wyoming

needs to elect

15

more moms with young kids.

Wyoming

#47

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

132

1

0.76%

Tennessee

needs to elect

22

more moms with young kids.

Tennessee

#48

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

150

1

0.67%

Indiana

needs to elect

26

more moms with young kids.

Indiana

#49

Total Legislators

Number of mamas
(kids <18)

Percent of mamas
(kids <18)

140

0

0.00%

Alabama

needs to elect

25

more moms with young kids.

Alabama

#50

Demographics:

Representation Among Mamas

Moms of young children are not underrepresented in state legislatures solely because women and mothers in general are underrepresented. 

Of women and nonbinary state legislators, 75% are mothers, but only 16.9% of women state legislators have minor children. In the United States as a whole, 85% of women have children by age 45, and 34.8% of all adult women have minor children. Consequently, moms with young children are represented in state legislatures at less than half the rate they appear in the population, despite the fact that mothers in general are relatively close to full representation.

This data suggests that the lack of representation of moms with young children is the result of structural marginalization rather than individual circumstances or preferences. 

Further, it suggests that moms of young children face barriers that are unique, or intensified, compared to women and mothers of adult children. Despite this, moms with young kids have greater diversity in ethnicity and sexual orientation than their counterparts with adult children. There are two notable exceptions:

1) there are currently no transgender or nonbinary legislators with minor children

2) there are proportionally fewer Black moms with minor children than Black mothers of adult children. Tracking variation in demographics over time will allow for future analysis on the intersections of parenthood and other underrepresented groups.

Tracking variation in demographics over time will allow for future analysis on the intersections of parenthood and other underrepresented groups.

There is a distinct pattern of decreasing representation as child age decreases. Less than half of state legislators who are moms of minors have kids estimated to be younger than middle to high school age. In 2021-2022, the birth rate among women state legislators was just 0.5%, a rate ten times lower than the estimated rate of 5% among the total population of U.S. women.

There is a distinct Democratic majority among women and nonbinary legislators, with 66% identifying as Democrats. Moms of young children lean even more heavily Democratic at 73%.

The research presented here is long overdue, but it is just the beginning of our collective understanding of the experience of being both a legislator and a caretaker.

While Vote Mama Foundation’s analysis focuses on the intersection of motherhood and political participation, it is our intention for this data to benefit all those working toward an equitable and accountable political system.

© 2022 by Vote Mama Foundation, Inc.  |  info@votemamafoundation.org   |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy

Vote Mama Foundation is the leading source of research and analysis on the political participation of mothers. We are normalizing moms running for office with young children, breaking the barriers they face while running, and enabling legislators to pass legislation that is truly family friendly.   

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