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Reality Check: State Legislature Demographics

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- A far reaching study of all 50 state legislatures is revealing some surprises.

The National Council of State Legislatures and the Pew Research Center released a report that says legislatures don't reflect the demographics of the states they represent -- including Minnesota.

Women make up 50 percent of Minnesota's population, according to the report, but only 33 percent of the legislature.

And it's not much different for minorities -- African Americans are 5.7 percent of Minnesota's population, but only 1 percent of lawmakers, while Hispanics are 5.1 percent of the population, but only 2 percent of legislators.

The study shows Minnesota lawmakers are overwhelmingly white (75 percent), male (67 percent), Protestant (86 percent), business people (29 percent) and baby boomers (65 percent).

In fact, even though children of the 1960s make up 65 percent of Minnesota's legislature, they're only 30 percent of the population. Only 4 percent of lawmakers are milennials, even though they're 30 percent of the state.

But that's all about to change. According to the report, America is getting younger. The average age of state lawmakers nationwide is 56 years old, but the average age of US adults is 47.

There are more than 7,300 state lawmakers nationwide, and Minnesota has one of the biggest legislatures in the country, with 201 delegates.

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