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Blacks in State Legislatures: A State-by-State Map

Just under 10 percent of the nearly 7,500 legislators serving in America’s state houses are Black, and only 13 are Republicans.

Del. Joe Lindsey, D-Norfolk, speaks at a press conference by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus on the first day of the General Assembly, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.
America will have its first woman of color in the White House beginning on Jan. 20 and during her campaign, Kamala Harris shared her plans to “stand for Black Americans.” There’s hope that, under the new president, it will be possible for parties to begin to work together to heal and unite Americans.

There is a shortage of voices from the Black community in state legislatures to take on this work.

Less than 10 percent of the legislators in state bodies are Black. Most strikingly, there are only 13 Black Republicans among the more than 7,500 men and women serving as state senators or representatives.

African American representation was 9 percent in 2015, according to Amanda Zoch, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislators. Twenty-five states have seen their percentages of Black lawmakers inch upward since then, though Black Americans are still underrepresented compared to their share of the population.

"Maryland has the largest African American presence, at 29 percent, and Black lawmakers make up at least a quarter of the legislatures in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina,” says Zoch.

Note: Hover over the map below to see the numbers by state, and click on the state to see the names of the legislators and their party affiliation. After clicking on a single state, reload the page to return to the complete map.

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Editor's Note: Due to inaccuracies in the data provided by Quorum, we have updated the list to reflect corrections that have been made.
Carl Smith is a senior staff writer for Governing and covers a broad range of issues affecting states and localities. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @governingwriter.
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