State of Motherhood in American Politics

Vote Mama Foundation is the only organization tracking the number of mothers with young children serving in state legislatures throughout the country and will produce the only publicly available demographic dataset of all women state legislators in the U.S.

Our previous research found that despite 86% of American women becoming mothers by the time they are 44 years old, moms with young children make up only 6% of the U.S. Congress. While we now know more about political participation of mothers at the federal level, the number of mothers with young children serving in state legislatures is not yet known. 

Just as lived experience affects how policy is approached, it also affects how we assess and solve problems. 

The first step to solving any problem is collecting enough information to understand who is impacted and how. The State of Motherhood Census will close a critical gap in research and delve into the cultural, logistical, and structural barriers that prevent full political representation of mothers at the state level.

Representation matters - in government and in data. 

The State of Motherhood Census

We are asking all state legislators who identify as women or as nonbinary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming to complete the census. 

The survey only takes about 5 minutes to complete. It includes robust demographic questions with sections tailored to mothers, caregivers, and women without children or dependents. 

Want to be counted?

This information will help us, and all policy researchers who use the dataset, answer foundational questions about how our democracy serves and is served by American mothers and caregivers. Vote Mama Foundation will use data from all survey questions in our analyses and publish our conclusions in reports which will be available to view and download on our website. We will also publish survey data for use by researchers and other stakeholders.

We understand serving in public office with young children at home brings unique privacy concerns. Our top priority is the safety and security of survey respondents and the people they care for. That's why we will not publish individually identified responses - the dataset will not include legislators' names or districts. Particularly sensitive data, such as the ages of respondents' children, will only be published in aggregate form (i.e. how percentages of legislators answered the question) and will not be included in the dataset.

Survey questions are labeled if they will not be included in the dataset, and respondents have the option to select "Prefer not to say."