Sunday, September 24, 2023
    HomePoliticsWhite men still dominate N.J. politics, study shows

    White men still dominate N.J. politics, study shows

    Women and minorities continue to be vastly underrepresented in New Jersey government, where more than 70% of all officeholders are men, and white men hold 56% of offices at the congressional, legislative, and county levels, according to a study conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

    The survey pointed to some startling numbers: in municipalities with over 30,000 residents, 87% of mayors are men, and 67% are white men; 15% are Black, and 5% are Latino; Black women make up just 2.7% of mayors in large municipalities, and 1.3% of those mayors are Latina.   Of all municipal seats, 71% are men.

    Men dominate county offices, including county commissioners and constitutional officers, by a margin of nearly 2-1   A little more than one-third of the state legislature (34%) are women, and men hold both of New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seats and ten of the twelve House seats.

    Both of the Senate seats are occupied by people of color, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, while four of the twelve house members are people of color: Andy Kim, Rob Menendez, Donald Payne, and Bonnie Watson Coleman.  Nearly three-quarters of all county officials are white (73.5%), 14% are Black and 8% are Hispanic.

    New Jersey’s Asian American and Pacific Islander population is most underrepresented, the study shows.  Just 4% of mayors of cities with more than 30,000 residents come from the AAPI community.

    “Efforts to collect this kind of demographic data are essential for measuring and evaluating both progress and setbacks in representation. In an era when strengthening democratic participation is critical, this project is a model of how data can help illuminate representation gaps and inform strategies to increase diversity in public leaders,” said CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak.  “We are grateful to the New Jersey Legislature for their commitment to the goal of making government more transparent and accountable to its citizens and look forward to working with the legislature to strengthen this vital project moving forward.”

    Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation that directed CAWP to build a database of elected and appointed officials by gender, race and ethnicity.

    In Trenton, white men dominate the most powerful posts: Governor, Senate President, Assemby Speaker, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and Attorney General.



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