COLLEGE PARK, MD — The new Maryland legislature significantly under-represents women compared to the state’s general population, though African American membership is less out of balance, finds a new University of Maryland study by the Center for American Politics and Citizenship (CAPC).
The report, Demographic Representation in Maryland State Government, shows women legislators more than 20 percentage points below their representation in the population, while African Americans are down by roughly 9 points.
The analysis, based on the outcomes of the 2010 Maryland primary and general elections, also shows that women and African American candidates in Maryland have higher electoral success rates than their male and white counterparts, particularly if they survive the primary.
“Minority candidates are quite effective at winning elections, but there aren’t enough seeking office,” said University of Maryland researcher and principal investigator Paul Herrnson, who directs CAPC. “Clearly, there are still demographic groups that are not as well represented in our legislature as they should be.”
WOMEN: Less than one-fourth of all candidates in the 2010 Maryland Primary were women, compared to the 51.5 percent of the state’s population. Following the primary election, however, 28 percent of remaining candidates were female. That number increased again following the general election, with the 2011 Maryland General Assembly being composed of just over 30 percent women.
AFRICAN AMERICAN: African Americans represent 29.7 percent of Maryland’s population. As a group, African American candidates outperformed their white counterparts, on average, in the Maryland General Election. While 16.5 percent of general election candidates were African American, they will represent 21.1 percent of the 2011 Maryland General Assembly.
There are stark party differences. The Republican Party has no African American members in the General Assembly, while the percentage of African Americans among the Democratic members is nearly identical to the general population.
The full report is available HERE
The Center for American Politics and Citizenship is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research institution at the University of Maryland - the region's largest public research university, providing Maryland with education and research services statewide, supporting its economic and social well-being.