New Hampshire is a beautiful state that is growing more diverse over time.1 Even so, it might not often occur to us to think about how closely our legislature resembles the electorate it serves. Fortunately, that is exactly what this article is going to address. The information presented here is simply intended to educate and, hopefully, to generate some thoughtful discussions as well. Let us examine the data and ask some questions.

First, we will zoom out and look at the population of New Hampshire. The most recent US Census data show that the current population of New Hampshire is 1.4 million. Of that population, approximately 4% are Black, 3% are Asian, and 4.6% are Hispanic. Women, unsurprisingly, make up 50% of the population.2 The LGBTQ+ community accounts for 4.7%.3

Next, we can compare this data to what we know about our state legislature.

The New Hampshire State Legislature is comprised of 400 members in the House of Representatives (representing 204 districts) and 24 members in the Senate (representing 24 larger districts). Of the 424 elected officials in the legislature, 0.7% are Black, 0.9% are Asian, and 0.7% are Hispanic. Women account for 37.7%4 while 0.02% identify as LGBTQ+.5 Clearly, there are some significant discrepancies even when you consider that New Hampshire’s population is largely “White” (88.8% are identified as white alone/non-Hispanic).1

When “White” is included with the other data sets:


Further research would be required to begin explaining exactly why representation does not more closely reflect population in this case. Likely, there are many variables that contribute. Taking a step further, it would be interesting to make similar comparisons with regard to other states, observe how they perform by these metrics, and determine whether New Hampshire scores higher or lower than most by these standards.

1UNH (2021)
2US Census (2022)
3Gallup/Williams (2019)
4NCSL (2023)
5Victory Fund (2023)


Questions for further consideration:

  1. How important is it for the composition of a state’s governing body to closely reflect the population it represents?
  2. What is missing? Are there other criteria you would add to this analysis?
  3. Are the data sufficient? The data suggest that questions regarding gender adhere to a binary design. Should Census questions be more inclusive?
  4. Where do we go from here? How is this information useful?


Notes on methodology:

  • Author acknowledges variation in publication years with regard to population data sources. Most was collected from the 2020 US Census. NH’s LGBTQ+ population data was collected from a 2019 study utilizing a 2017 Gallup poll. All data presented was taken from the most recent available sources.
  • Author acknowledges that there are more racial and ethnic groups than those presented here. Eskimo, Pacific Islander, Native American, and others, were not categorized in the same way across sources cited and each accounted for less than 1% in both NH population and the NH State Legislature.



  • National Conference of State Legislators, Legislatures At-A-Glance. 2023. [Link]
  • UCLA School of Law: Williams Institute (Gallup 2017), LGBT Demographic Data Interactive. 2019. [Link]
  • United States Census Bureau, Quick Facts: New Hampshire. 2020/V2022 [Link]
  • University of New Hampshire: Carsey School of Public Policy, Modest Population Gains, but Growing Diversity in New Hampshire with Children in the Vanguard. 2021. [Link]
  • Victory Fund, State Overview: New Hampshire. 2023. [Link]



Thank you to Anna Brown at Citizens Count as well as Thomas Case and select faculty at Saint Anselm College Institue of Politics for providing helpful guidance in the location of resources used for this project.


Written by Elaina Bedio
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