Re-present represent

I was trying to figure out NYC 311 complaints by type, per capita – even Adderall couldn’t make it more interesting or compelling than dog videos on Reddit…. so that task languishes…But all that per capita stuff got me thinking of everything in per capita terms, and here is an interesting per capita story:

Representation in Congress (Senate + House) per 100 thousand population
Wyoming
NY 11th Congressional District
(Staten Island + Southern Brooklyn)
Population
State
528,000
19,750,000
Congressional District
528,000
724,000
Senators per 
100K population
0.38
0.01
House Reps per 
100K population
0.19
0.14
Total Representation in Congress per 100K population
0.57
0.15

Like New York, the state of Wyoming has 2 senators, being that every state sends 2 senators to the US Congress, regardless of population. Fifty states, 100 senators.

The number of seats in the House of Representatives, however, is based on population, with a minimum of 1 seat per state.  Wyoming, with a state-wide population of 528,000, sends 1 “at large” member representing the entire state to the House.  New York state, with a population of just about 20 million, is divided into 27 congressional districts, and has 27 seats in the current House.

The biggest imbalance comes with the senate math: 2 senators represent 528,000 people in Wyoming. New York state, with 20 million people, 40 times as many people as in Wyoming, also gets 2 senators.

And that’s how representation in the US works – significantly unequal. The how-and-why of the matter is for another post, another day. And then there is Washington DC, which has no representation at all, has neither a seat in the House, nor, not being a state, seats in the Senate.