The average number of constituents per elected local representative is an important indicator of the state of local democracy in the United States. After all, the smaller the number of constituents represented by each representative, the larger the voice each individual is likely to have in public deliberations and decision-making. On average, the degree of electoral representation in the United States appears to be quite reasonable, with each elected local representative on average representing the voices, opinions, and perspectives of around 6,600 residents.
Elected representation, however, is quite unevenly distributed across states: whereas some states have a high degree of electoral representation (with 1,000-3,000 constituents per elected local representative, on average), local governments in other states have a much lower degree of democratic representation (exceeding 30,000 residents per elected local representative). Based on a preliminary exploration of the state of local democracy in the United States (July 2018), the map shows the average number of residents per elected local representative in each state.
|Table III. Local Government Constituents per Elected Representative|
Local government average