The Wisconsin State Legislature

The Wisconsin State Legislature consists of two chambers: a 33-member State Senate and an 99-member General Assembly. Currently only 98 of the seats in the Wisconsin General Assembly are occupied. The last election took place on November 6, 2018. The next election will take place this year, on November 3, 2020. The Wisconsin State Legislature maintains age requirements for candidacy; Senate: 18 years of age, House: 18 years of age.

 

Wisconsin Demographic Background

The largest generations in Wisconsin are the Baby Boom Generation and Millennial Generation.1 The former comprises 26.2% of the population and the latter 21.6%.2 The smallest generation is the Silent Generation, consisting of 11.70% of the population. The overwhelming majority, 81.8%, of people in Wisconsin are White. Just 6.2% are Black/African American, 6.6% are Hispanic or Latino, and 5.3% are Other.3

Generational Breakdown of the Wisconsin State Legislature

The average age of a Wisconsin legislator is 52 years. The largest overall generation represented in the Wisconsin State Legislature is the Baby Boomer Generation, comprising 37.76% of the Wisconsin General Assembly, and 45.45% of the Wisconsin State Senate. The second largest overall generation is Generation X, which is actually the most represented generation in the General Assembly at 42.86%. Millennials represent almost 20% of all members of the Wisconsin General Assembly, and 3% in the Wisconsin State Senate. Millennials are therefore underrepresented in the legislature. Interestingly, there is one member of Generation Z in the Wisconsin State Senate. There are 21 total Young Elected Leaders in Wisconsin’s State Legislature.

 

Generational Composition of the Wisconsin State Legislature

 

Generational Breakdown of the Wisconsin General Assembly
Generation Number of Members % of Total Members
Millennial Generation 19 19.39%
Generation X 42 42.86%
Baby Boomer Generation 37 37.76%
Silent Generation 0 0.00%
  • The average age of the Wisconsin General Assembly is 50
  • The youngest members are 32 (Robyn Beckley Vining and Katrina Shankland)
  • The oldest member is 66/67 (Shae A. Sortwell)
  • 17 individuals are Young Elected Leaders
    • Jim Ott, 35
    • Robert Wittke, 35
    • Rick Gundrum, 35
    • Terry Katsma, 34
    • Nancy VanderMeer, 33
    • Jim Steineke, 33
    • James Edming, 32
    • Staush Gruszynski, 33
    • Dianne Hesselbein, 33
    • Rob Summerfield, 33
    • David Crowley, 33
    • Cindi Duchow, 32/33
    • Robyn Vining, 31/32
    • Katrina Shankland, 32
Generational Breakdown of the Wisconsin State Senate
Generation Number of Members % of Total Members
Millennial Generation 6 18.18%
Generation X 5 15.15%
Baby Boomer Generation 15 45.45%
Generation Z 1 3.00%
  • The average age of the Wisconsin State Senate is 59
  • The youngest member is 20 (Dale P. Kooyenga)
  • The oldest member is 92 (Andre M. Jacque)
  • 7 individuals are Young Elected Leaders
    • Timothy Carpenter, 32
    • Devin LeMahieu, 32
    • Patrick Testin, 31
    • Stephen Nass, 31
    • Jeffrey Smith, 29
    • Van Wanggaard, 28
    • Dale Kooyenga, 20

Gender Breakdown of the Wisconsin State Legislature

Women are underrepresented in the Wisconsin State Legislature: Roughly 29% of members in the Wisconsin General Assembly and exactly 24.24% of members in the Wisconsin State Senate are women. Female legislators are on average less than a year younger than their male colleagues.

There are five female and nine male Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin General Assembly, and seven male Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin State Senate.

 

Gender of the Wisconsin General Assembly

 

Gender by Generation in the Wisconsin General Assembly

 

Gender of the Wisconsin State Senate

 

Gender by Generation in the Wisconsin State Senate

Ethnic Breakdown of the Wisconsin State Legislature

Roughly 81% of members of the Wisconsin General Assembly are White/Caucasian, followed by 4.08% being Black/African-American and 3.06% Hispanic/Latino. About 11.22% of members are Unknown. In the Wisconsin State Senate, an overwhelming 94% of members are White/Caucasian and 6.06% are Black/African-American.

 

Ethnicity of the Wisconsin General Assembly

Ethnicity by Generation in the Wisconsin General Assembly
Ethnicity of Young Elected Leaders in Wisconsin General Assembly

Of the fourteen Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin General Assembly, one is Black/African-American, two are unknown, and eleven are White/Caucasian.

 

Ethnicity of the Wisconsin State Senate

 

Ethnicity by Generation in the Wisconsin State Senate

 

Ethnicity of Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin State Senate

There are 7 Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin State Senate, all of whom are White/Caucasian.

Generation Number of Members % of Total Members
Millennial Generation 3 10.00%
Generation X 4 13.33%
Baby Boomer Generation 16 53.33%
Silent Generation 2 6.66%
NA* 5 16.50%

Note: *Indicates state legislators for whom there is no birth date on record.

  • The average age of Wyoming senators is 58.5
  • The youngest member is Brian Boner, age 34
  • The oldest member is Glenn W. Moniz, age 74
  • There is only 1 Young Elected Leader in the Senate, Brian Boner

Partisan Breakdown of the Wisconsin State Legislature

A majority of the Wisconsin General Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate are Republican.  Of the twenty-one Young Elected Leaders throughout the legislature, two thirds (14) are Republican and one third (7) Democrat.

 

Partisanship of the Wisconsin General Assembly

 

Partisanship by Generation in the Wisconsin General Assembly
Partisanship of Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin General Assembly

There are fourteen Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin General Assembly: nine are Republican and five are Democrats.

 

Partisanship of the Wisconsin State Senate

Partisanship by Generation in the Wisconsin State Senate

 

Partisanship of Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin State Senate

There are seven Young Elected Leaders in the Wisconsin State Senate with two being Democrats and five being Republicans.

Notes

The Young Elected Leaders Project collects and analyzes data on young elected officials across the country.  We define Young Elected Leaders (YELs) 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.

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 April 28, 2019.

See the Young Elected Leaders in the 116th United States Senate