Alright guys, I'm going to throw a bunch of statistics at you. One of the major reasons I started this project is because America is becoming an increasingly diverse country but the government is not adequately representing these changes. So how diverse is America really? And how do the people in power compare?
To start off, how many People of Color are in the US? As of 2015:
There are 13.3 % African Americans.
There are 5.6 % Asian Americans.
There are 1.2% Native Americans.
There are 2.6% people of Mixed Race (2 or more).
As of 2010, 6.2% identify as "Some other race" in the Census' terms.
I haven't listed the Hispanic/Latinx population yet because there are different races that make up this group. Knowing that, 16.3% of the population identify as Latinx and 7.6% identify as Latinxs of color.
So let's try to round that up, shall we? I know the data isn't all from the same year but let's get a ballpark:
About 37% of the American population is of a different racial make-up than Euro/Caucasian descent. (I'm trying to avoid the term "non-white" which the bureau tends to use because it lumps all races into the "other" and that's not what we're about.)
But we're not done... There are more statistics I want to look at. How many immigrants are in this country? As of 2009, 13% of American citizens are foreign-born, and that's not including undocumented immigrants.
Also, what does our LGBTQ population look like? That statistic has been hard to come by because of the varying definitions different surveys use to document sexual orientation. Some include bisexuality, some use broader definitions of homosexuality, etc. There's also the matter of discretion, how many people surveyed have felt comfortable disclosing their orientation? In 2016, a Gallup phone poll got 4.1% of the population identifying as LGBTQ. In preceding years, the numbers were much less so this statistic appears to be growing as it becomes more acceptable to live openly.
Another statistic I want to discuss is the female population in the US. 50.8% of Americans are female, and in some states women account for 52% of the population.
If that's the case, why do women only account for about 20% of elected officials in the Senate and Congress? On the state level, women account for 23.7% of elected officials. We need to double that percentage if we want women to be accurately represented in government.
Let's go back to our earlier numbers listed for POC and other minorities and see how they are represented in the Senate and the House. Even though they represent 37% of the US population, only 10% take up the Senate, and only 21% take up the House of Representatives. In local offices, African Americans account for 9% of state legislatures. Latinx account for 5% and Asian Americans account for 1%. Even though, this year we saw a record growth in minority representation, we could stand to get the full 37% or more.
As far as LGBT representation is concerned, there is only one Senate member who is openly gay and only 6 members of the House. When you break that down into a percentage, there is only 0.01% representation of LGBT members in the House! In local offices, the number of openly gay elected legislators has decreased for two years.
We need to think about ways to help each other get adequate representation in government. My next article will feature different organizations which are aiming to provide that kind of support.