Additional Equity Indicators
7 - Equal Pay
9 - Infant
Reflection of Population
Percent of women,
blacks, and Latinos serving in the 120-member State Legislature:
| Things to think about
of the minority representatives in the State Legislature are
in the 80-member General Assembly. The 40-member Senate is still
composed overwhelmingly of white males. Because General Assembly
members are often elected to the Senate later in their careers,
this disparity may lessen in the future.
Americans fought successfully
to remove "Jim Crow" laws instituted after the Civil War, which
restricted the right of some citizens to vote and be represented.
Despite this progress, we have moved only somewhat closer to
representation that reflects our population.
Confidence in government
increases when people see "one of their own" in elected office.
is one of our most basic rights and one of our strongest tools
for shaping the future. While an individual of any race or gender
may serve the interests of others well, it is both fair and
healthy for our democracy when our elected officials reflect
the makeup of the population they serve. The number of female
state legislators in New Jersey has grown significantly, but
still remains extremely low - fewer than 16 percent of our state
legislators are female, earning New Jersey 39th place in national
standings. The percentage of Latino state legislators also remains
proportionately smaller than our Latino population. One group
has made significant progress in the past two decades: the number
of African American state legislators today is nearly proportional
to the size of our black population.
economy is based on free market principles, the government plays
a role in ensuring that the economy provides equal opportunities
decisions, such as where to locate undesirable waste facilities,
are made by government. Government can also play a role in restoring
brownfields, protecting against lead poisoning, and creating
parkland. Environmental inequities can result when minorities
and those who live in poor areas do not have equal representation.
They may receive more than their fair share of undesirable facilities.
consisting of the full mosaic of cultures and ideas may be better
able to incorporate diverse ideas and debate the full array
of social problems than a legislature consisting primarily of
are many other positions in the State that could also be examined
to determine how representative public
officials are of the population. However, there is no readily
available analysis of these positions. Positions such as those
on local school and planning boards can be particularly important
for building a fairer future.
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials,
New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, Rutgers Center for
the American Woman and Politics, and New Jersey Future