Who Leads Us?

Do America’s Elected Officials Reflect Our Population?

Not Even Close.

US Population, 2014

Share the Facts

  • White men in this country hold 4 times the political power of women & people of color.
  • 31% of our population controls 65% of elected offices.
  • 86% of us think America’s democracy is broken. Let’s move toward a #reflectivedemocracy together.
  • 71% of elected officials are men, 90% are white, and 65% are white men.
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The Reflective Democracy Campaign reimagines a political system that engages America’s full range of talent and experience. The campaign conducts groundbreaking research, engages the public in crucial dialogue, and makes catalytic investments in leaders and organizations working towards a Reflective Democracy.

In the News

Voting by Numbers

The New Yorker / October 27, 2014
By JELANI COBB
October is to political prognosticators what February is to florists and April is to accountants; namely, the time when a profession that’s peripheral to our daily concerns momentarily becomes the center of our attention. This season’s forecasting for the midterm elections is largely occupied with the partisan balance of the Senate. (The Times’ Upshot column has it seventy-one per cent likely that the Republicans will gain control. FiveThirtyEight puts the G.O.P.’s odds at sixty-one per cent.)

White men are 31 percent of the American population. They hold 65 percent of all elected offices.

The Washington Post / October 8, 2014
By Nia-Malika Henderson
The folks at Who Leads Us, a project by the Women Donors Network, have posed an interesting question about the state of politics: Do we live in a reflective democracy? The short answer is no, and the long answer is also no. And the two charts below (put together by Philip Bump) prove it. It's no secret that white men dominate politics, which we've written about before, and current projections suggest that women won't reach political parity/reflective representation for another 100 years.

Report: Every Level of Government Is Suffering From a Serious Woman Problem

The New Republic / October 8, 2014
By Danny Vinik
You’ve probably heard these statistics before: Men make up 80 percent of the Senate and 81 percent of the House. There are just two black and four Hispanic senators. The numbers aren’t much better in the lower chamber. The fact that white men are vastly overrepresented in Congress is probably not news to anyone. But this discrepancy does not just exist at the federal level. It is prevalent across all levels of government.

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