In 2002, the Eagleton study identified a total of 814 men and women age thirty-five and younger serving among all officials in Congress, statewide elective executive positions, state legislatures, and municipalities with over 30,000 population. Young elected officials held approximately 4.8 percent of all these positions combined, constituting a minuscule proportion of public officials. They included six Members of Congress, two statewide elected officials, 321 state legislators, and 485 municipal officials. 

What Makes Young People Run? 

Young elected leaders grew up in homes where politics might well have been a dinner-table topic of conversation. Their families not only talk about politics – they engage in politics. 

Young Elected Leaders Don’t Bowl Alone 

Young elected leaders tend to be active citizens. Similar to U.S. political elites of any age, young political officials are joiners and doers, tuned in to the world around them. They are also more trusting of people’s motives than are young people in general. 

What Do Young Leaders Think? 

Political party identification, ideology (conservative, moderate, liberal) and views on cutting edge issues. 

Young Elected Men and Women-Differences and Similarities 

Among the respondents to the survey of young elected leaders, we found a number of significant gender differences. We also identified several areas where, sometimes surprisingly, no gender differences were evident.