Most Ohio legislators are men. Will that change in 2021?

By: - October 7, 2020 12:40 am

The Ohio Statehouse. Photo by Jake Zuckerman, Ohio Capital Journal.

Men dominate the Ohio Statehouse, as they do in nearly every other state legislature in the United States.

Almost three-fourths (73%) of the combined members of the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate are men. 

That is in line with the gender make-up throughout the country, according to demographic research from the National Conference of State Legislators. Across the U.S., 71% of state legislators are men and 29% are women. 

In 49 of the 50 state legislatures, men are the majority. Only Nevada is the outlier — where 52% of the elected state legislators are women. 

Similarly, white legislators are the majority in 49 states — with Hawaii comprised mostly of legislators of Asian and Hawaiian descent.

The research includes other details of the Ohio Statehouse demographics. Of the 132 legislators, 82% are white; this is nearly identical to U.S. Census data which finds that 81.7% of Ohioans are white.

Ohio may see more women in the statehouse this coming term.

There are 36 women out of the 132 present legislators. A review by the Ohio Capital Journal found there are 69 female candidates for state legislator on the ballot this fall, with most campaigning for a House seat. 

This gender disparity is evident in other areas of Ohio government. All six statewide elected officials are men. The Ohio Capital Journal previously reported the gender gap among county officials throughout the state.

More than 70% of elected county officials are men, this outlet reported in February, with the biggest disparities evident in the county commissioner, sheriff, engineer, coroner and prosecutor positions.

Of the 16 congressional districts in Ohio, 13 are held by men. That number may also increase next term, with more than a dozen Ohio women campaigning for a seat in Congress this year.


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Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan

Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.