The Nebraska State Legislature
The Nebraska State Legislature is a unique political institution in the United States. It is unicameral and non-partisan, its nickname is “The Unicameral”. There are 49 seats, members are referred to as senators. The last election took place November 6, 2018. In order to qualify, a candidate must be at least twenty-five years of age.
Nebraska Demographic Background
The Nebraskan population roughly reflects the demographic composition of the United States as a whole.1 The largest generation with 24.40% is the Baby Boomer Generation, followed by Millennials (22.60%).2 About 20% of the population belong to the Generation X. The smallest generation is the Silent Generation (11.4%).
The large majority of Nebraska’s population is White/Caucasian (79.80%).3 About 4.6% are Black/African American and 10.50% are Hispanic/Latino. There are 5.10% that identify as other ethnicities or that have two or more ethnicities.
Generational Breakdown of the Nebraska State Legislature
The largest generation in the Nebraska State Legislature is the Baby Boomer Generation. With over 63%, Baby Boomers are considerably overrepresented. Generation X and Millennials are represented with 16% each. The Silent Generation is the smallest in the legislature with about 4%.
- The average age of a Nebraskan senator is 56
- The youngest senator, Julie Slama, is 23 years old (born in 1996)
- The oldest senator, Ernie Chambers, is 82 years old (born in 1937)
- Six senators are Young Elected Leaders
Gender Breakdown of the Nebraska State Legislature
Women are underrepresented in the “Unicameral”. Only 28.5% of the senators are female. There are generational differences with regard to gender. The Millennial Generation and Generation X are gender-balanced, whereas women are significantly underrepresented in the Baby Boomer Generation. Among Young Elected Leaders, the gender composition is balanced as well. The mean age for female senators is 47, whereas the mean age for male senators is 59.
Ethnic Breakdown of the Nebraska State Legislature
The “Unicameral” is comprised of 95.6% White/Caucasian senators, vastly underrepresenting ethnic minorities. There is one Black/African American senator, Ernie Chambers of the Silent Generation, and one Millennial Hispanic/Latino senator, Anthony Vargas.
- The Young Elected Leaders Project collects and analyzes data on young elected officials across the country. We define Young Elected Leaders as officials 35 years and younger. We define the generations following the Pew Research Center:
- Generation Z: 1997-2012
- Millennial Generation: 1981-1996
- Generation X: 1965-1980
- Baby Boom Generation: 1946-1964
- Silent Generation: 1928-1945
2. Single Years of Age and Sex, 2010, US Census.
3. Geographic and Housing Estimates (Age, Sex, Race, Households and Housing, …) 2017, US Census.
This analysis is based on data from April 2019 and was conducted on July 19, 2019.