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Breaking Down the Demographics of the 50 States' Leadership

by Lydia Stowe, FiscalNote

Looking for the demographic makeup of state legislatures in 2022? Read FiscalNote's report on the party, age, race, birthplace, and education of state leadership!

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Knowing who’s who in state legislatures can help you identify key stakeholders, build relationships, and drive a successful state government affairs strategy. As we prepare for the midterm elections, FiscalNote created a new report: “Your 2022 Guide to the Demographics of Statehouse Leaders.”

For each state’s governor, senate president, and house speaker, the report goes into detail on:

  • Party
  • Age
  • Race
  • Birthplace
  • Education
  • Years in office
States leadership demographics

Read on for some of the general trends that we discovered on the demographics of state leadership in 2022.

US States’ Leadership Overview

Taking into account state governors, House speakers, and Senate presidents, our 2022 report found that state leadership is lacking in diversity. Overall, only 15 percent of state leadership is female while 91 percent is white, with only 4 percent African American, 3 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian American, and 1 percent Native American.

In terms of party, state legislatures are majority Republican, with 62 percent of the states’ leadership members of the GOP. The average age of all state leadership is 58.

For the 2022 legislative sessions, 39 states feature a “trifecta” with the governor, Senate president, and speaker of the House all in the same party. Republicans hold the majority with trifectas in 24 states.

Partisan configurations are important because, according to FiscalNote’s 2021 Most Effective States Legislative Report, trifecta legislatures tend to pass more bills than “split-party control” bodies. The top five states with the highest number of bills enacted into law in 2021 sessions were trifecta states, while seven of 10 legislatures that enacted the fewest number of bills had divided state governments.

Demographics of the US Governors

There are currently 28 Republican and 22 Democratic governors in office, of which only nine (18 percent) are women. In terms of racial diversity in the states’ leadership, governors are the least diverse group with 94 percent of them white.

The average age of a currently serving governor is 58 years old. Eleven governors are at least 70 years old, with Gov. Kay Ivey, R-Ala., the eldest at 77; and six are under 50, with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., the youngest at 43.

Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., is the nation’s longest-serving governor. First elected in 2012, he was elected to a third term in 2020, and 2022 marks his 10th year in Olympia. 

The governors are comprised of 58 percent Republicans and 42 percent Democrats, the highest percentage of Democrats of the three leadership positions. 

As the chief executives of state government, governors wield extraordinary statutory power and political clout in shaping legislation. To learn about how power is shared between the governor and the legislative branch, download our 2022 Guide to the Demographics of Statehouse Leaders.


US States’ Senate President Demographics

Senate presidents average nearly 16 years experience as legislators, with many serving previously in the House, and average three years as Senate presidents with at least 25 assuming the post in 2021 or 2022. The longest-serving is Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Ore., who is entering his 38th year in the legislature and 18th as Senate president. 

Republicans hold the majority of these titles with 63 percent Republican and 37 percent Democrat.

The average age of a Senate president in the U.S. is 60 years old, with four at least 78 years old and three in their thirties. To find out which states have the oldest and youngest Senate presidents, download FiscalNote’s report

There are only eight women Senate presidents and 90 percent of all Senate presidents are white. There are two African American, two Hispanic, and one Asian American Senate presidents and Senate president pro tempore.


US States’ Speakers Demographics

There are 31 Republican and 18 Democrat House speakers in the 2022 state legislative sessions, making the Senate president the role with the highest percentage of Republicans of the three leadership positions. The speakers collectively have 652 years of combined legislative experience averaging 13 years each.

Out of the three leadership positions, the speaker of the House is the most racially diverse with 88 percent white, 8 percent African American, 2 percent Asian American, and 2 percent Hispanic.

However, the speaker of the House position has the smallest proportion of women of the three positions, with only 10 percent female. 

The average age of a House speaker is 53 years old. Rep. Ryan Fecteau, D-ME, was first elected in 2014 as the nation’s youngest legislator and re-elected three times since. He entered his second session as House speaker at the age of 29.

Manage Stakeholder Relationships and Track Legislation at the State Level with FiscalNote

In this age of uncertainty and constant change, the ability to keep track of your policy issues, streamline collaboration, report effectively, and communicate with your stakeholders is more critical than ever. 

FiscalNote State allows you to manage your stakeholder relationships, keep your team on the same page, and track multiple bills in multiple states all in one place with highly customizable platform. FiscalNote has all the tools you need to build and execute a successful, 360-degree state government affairs strategy while staying organized and having the most up-to-date information at your fingertips. 

Ready to see for yourself?

In 2020 the states introduced more than 130,000 bills. Are you sure you didn't miss something important? Learn how you can easily track legislation and regulations in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico.

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