America’s Declining Representation


Photo Credit: Michael Elliot


First, 50 States in 1960 and a Population of 160 Million

  • Do the calculation of 100 senators plus 435 house members for a total of 535 representatives
  • Then divide those total representatives into 160 million
  • That is an approximate average of one representative in Congress for every 299,000 people  
  • That is quite a few people to be represented by one representative 
  • It’s not exactly like our individual voices were going to be heard loud and clear, not to say equally

Second, 2010 and a Population of 306 Million, Plus 1%  Per Year

  • Again, 50 states, 100 senators and 435 house members for a total of 535 representatives
  • And again divide these total representatives by 306 million
  • That is an average of approximately 572,000 people for every representative in Congress 
  • So if each individual was not being heard very well or fairly in 1960, how well do you think we are being heard in 2010 
  • That is a staggering 48% percent drop in average representation, and it is declining everyday 


From Limited Representation to Bribery By Another Name

Do you think those numbers are any indication why it has become so common for individuals to form lobbying and other interest groups to band together with huge amounts of money to sway members of congress?   

What about the “average Joe” that can’t afford to join a lobby group or has no interest in doing so?  How much influence do you think he or she has on issues and policies?

So simple math, big problem. All of it our own making.  Those eye-popping numbers are why so many voters have simply given up on the political process after being buried by the consequences.   

  • The fact is, it’s money and power which makes a difference  
  • We are beginning to get an idea how most Native Americans, African-Americans and women must have felt before the 1960’s
  • This is a system driven not by the individuals it is supposed to represent, but by interest groups that can afford to wield influence 
  • It may go by the name of lobbying and freedom of speech, but in reality it is something more akin to bribery. 
  • It offends any thinking person’s sense of fair play and ethics. 


What the Future Holds

Even more disturbing though is the trend toward greater and greater population growth.  It is predicted that if the rates of population growth in the United States continue, we could see 400 million people by 2050. 

The result of that compelling number is a  ratio of almost 750,000 people per representative. 

  • Increasing populations will continue to dilute much of an individual’s power to elect and influence their senators and representatives
  • If you are feeling lost and abandoned now, just give it a few more years and all of us will be even more marginalized
  • If you need any examples of that scenario today, take a look at China, India and Pakistan

That should give everyone a reason to pause and consider!



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. admin
    Jan 16, 2010 @ 17:26:51

    Good idea! Thanks for the comment. Overpopulation Insights

  2. Trent
    Jan 16, 2010 @ 14:21:24

    Why not run the calculation based on the year the Constitution was ratified?

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