Arizona ranks low on representation by population

The Connecticut Compromise by Bradley Stevens via U.S. Senate Archives.

Some people say less is more, but could that old adage apply to representation in Washington, D.C. for Arizonans?

Every state in the union gets two seats in the United States Senate, no matter its size.

So, a state like Wyoming, with a population of roughly 580,000, gets the same number of senators as Arizona with its 7 million residents — or as California, with its nearly 40 million residents.

This disparity was the center of some research done by WalletHub, which decided to crunch the numbers and create a ranking of which states have the lowest population-to-representation ratio.

Not surprisingly, Arizona ranks fairly low on the list due to its expanding population.

Source: WalletHub


Overall, Arizona ranks 47 and Wyoming ranks 1.

The ranking was determined by taking the number of senators in each state and then dividing that number by the total population over the age of 18.

The rationale behind the equal representation of the Senate came from a compromise that was hammered out at the constitutional convention of 1787.

The Connecticut Compromise was an agreement reached between large and small states that created the legislative model we use today.

Larger states were more interested in having representation be solely population-based while smaller states worried it would create unequal representation. The compromise was reached in establish a Senate with equal representation, and a House of Representatives based on population.

But the compromise of 1787 didn’t end the debate.

This year, the debate came to the forefront again during the vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrats argued that smaller states were having a larger say in the vote, and so a minority opinion was the ruling opinion on the vote.

In 2018, Republicans in the Senate mainly hail from lower-population states, while Democrats have strongholds in more populous states.

According to an analysis by CNN, 51 Republican senators represent 143 million people while 49 Democrats represent 182 million people. If divided equally, each Republican senator would represent 2.8 million people, while each Democrat would represent 3.7 million.

This has caused some to argue that smaller communities are being overrepresented and have larger powers over other communities.

That brings us back to WalletHub’s analysis.

Arizona ranks in the lower half of lists for gubernatorial, House and Senate voting representation, as the ratio between politicians and the population they represent is relatively high.

Additionally, WalletHub looked at the political parties and found that blue states tend to have more power than red states as more blue states placed higher in the ranking.

Right now there isn’t much debate around the topic but as politics continues to grow more polarized, the debate may crop back up in the near future.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.


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